Documenting the American South Logo

Southern Prose and Poetry for Schools:
Electronic Edition.

Ed. by Mims, Edwin, 1872-1959.

Ed. by Payne, Bruce Ryburn, 1874-1937.

Funding from the University of North Carolina Library supported the electronic publication of this title.

Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Risa Mulligan
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Amanda Page, and Sarah Ficke
First edition, 2006
ca. 740K
University Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,

No Copyright in US

Source Description:

(title page) Southern Prose and Poetry for Schools
(cover) Southern Prose and Poetry
Edwin Mims
Bruce R. Payne
xii, 440 p.
New York
Charles Scribner's Sons

Call number PS551 .M4 (Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

        This electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
        The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
        The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
        Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved, and appear in red type.
        All footnotes appear as in the original text, except for the poetry section, in which they have been moved to the end of the poem and renumbered accordingly.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Languages Used:

LC Subject Headings:

Revision History:



[Cover Image]



[Spine Image]



[Half-Title Page Image]



[Title Page Image]



[Title Page Verso Image]







Page verso


Page v


        THE principal purpose of this collection is to inspire the youth of the South to a more earnest and intelligent study of the literature of that section. For various reasons the Southern student knows less of his own literature than he does of any other. One rarely hears of the study of a Southern author in a Southern high school or grammar school. Without diminishing the effort devoted to the study of American literature, and with no intention of sectional glorification, our boys and girls should begin to acquaint themselves with some of the finer spirits who have endeavored to record in beautiful language the emotional experiences peculiar to the section in which they dwell. The definite task undertaken in this volume, therefore, is to provide students with a convenient introduction to the work of Southern writers. Because the literature of the South is a part of the Nation's literature, it is believed that these stories and poems will be studied with profit and pleasure by students from all sections of our country.

        The book is intended primarily for schools. The exact position in the curriculum it shall occupy is left to the judgment of school officials. Intellectual aptitudes and previous training vary so greatly among different groups of students and in different sections that the editors do not care to undertake to decide the definite place in a system of schools for such a collection.

Page vi

It is never too late to acquaint one's self with a masterpiece of literature, however simple the composition; on the other hand, one has a right to read a classic just as early as it may be understood with a fair degree of accuracy and enjoyment. With these principles in mind, it is the belief of the editors that this volume may furnish supplementary reading in the upper grammar grades, parallel reading throughout the high-school course, and suggestive reading for a college class in American literature. For more detailed study, a special term of months might profitably be devoted to it in the high school and the college.

        If criticism is offered because of the omission of favorite authors, we can only suggest that this is no compendium of Southern literature. It was impossible to include everything, and those selections were made which, in the judgment of the editors, would hasten the establishment of a point of contact between the youthful student and that great world of literature to which we hope to introduce him.

        The grouping of the stories and poems should be of assistance to the pupil. The usual chronological arrangement has been abandoned; selections have been assembled with reference to a central idea, both for the sake of clearness of apprehension and for the purpose of sustaining interest.

        The profuse use of notes has been avoided. No explanation has been made of any word that may be found in an academic dictionary. To the adolescent mind in the initial stage of acquiring a taste for literature nothing is so tiring as over-analysis and annotation. If abundant notes seem necessary at this period, there is ground for suspicion that the material is not adapted to the age of the learner. The teacher with a dictionary

Page vii

and a manual of mythology is the best judge of the limit of endurance of the mechanical and formal in the study of this subject.

        In the back of the book will be found biographical sketches of the authors. These appear alphabetically and in the briefest possible form, each name being followed by a complete list of the writings of the author. If the teacher wishes to pursue such study further any good text in Southern literature will be helpful. The following works are of value: Southern Writers, by W. P. Trent; Southern Writers (vols I and II), by W. M. Baskerville; The Library of Southern Literature (13 vols); The South in the Building of the Nation (10 vols). To all of these works the editors express their obligation.

        Kind permission for the use of copyrighted materials has been granted by the following publishers and writers or representatives of writers, due acknowledgment of which has been made at the proper places in the text: Doubleday, Page and Company, The Macmillan Company, Charles Scribner's Sons, The Houghton, Mifflin Company, P. J. Kenedy and Sons, Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, Small, Maynard and Company, Stone and Barringer, D. Appleton and Company, B. F. Johnson Publishing Company, The Century Company, G. P. Putnam's Sons, Frederick A. Stokes Company, Yvon Pike, and William Gordon McCabe.

Page ix


Page 1


Page 3


        IN the compilation of this volume the effort has been made to present some of the most important forms of prose and poetry. There will be found short stories, selections from historical romances, poems, essays, letters, and orations.

        First in point of interest are the short stories and the selections from historical romances, and first among these is Poe's Fall of the House of Usher. Poe's originality in defining, by theory and practice, the type of short story gives him the pre-eminent position among the short-story writers of the South, and indeed of America. In his review of Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales in 1842 he wrote the best statement of the province of this type of fiction, and gave the best analysis of his own tales:

        "The ordinary story is objectionable from its length, for reasons already stated in substance. As it cannot be read at one sitting, it deprives itself, of course, of the immense force derivable from totality. Worldly interests intervening during the pauses of perusal modify, annul, or contract, in a greater or less degree, the impressions of the book. But simply cessation in reading would, of itself, be sufficient to destroy the true unity. In the brief tale, however, the author is enabled to carry out the fulness of his intention, be it what it may. During

Page 4

the hour of perusal the soul of the reader is at the writer's control. There are no external or extrinsic influences--resulting from weariness or interruption.

        "A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If wise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, with deliberate care, a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents--then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this pre-conceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design. As by such means, with such care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art a sense of the fullest satisfaction. The idea of the tale has been presented unblemished, because undisturbed; and this is an end unattainable by the novel. Undue brevity is just as exceptionable here as in the poem; but undue length is yet more to be avoided."

        The Fall of the House of Usher is a full realization of Poe's ideal as expressed in this quotation. It is the most typical of his stories--in its plot, its background, and its characters. The "totality of effect" insisted upon as characteristic of every story is produced in an impressive way in this tale. The story has no definite location on the map; and yet every detail of the background contributes to the climax. The singularly dreary tract of country, the black and lurid tarn, the

Page 5

vacant eye-like windows, the few rank sedges, the white trunks of decayed trees, the gothic archway of the hall, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors, the phantasmagoric armorial trophies, the encrimsoned light and trellised panes of the windows--all these serve to render the total effect of the story startlingly impressive. Usher and his sister, like the heroes and heroines of Poe's other stories, are not flesh and blood characters, but rather fantastic creations of his own weird imagination. The general theme of the story--the passing away of a beautiful and fragile woman--is also characteristic, as is also the pellucid and at times highly colored style. If in his poetry Poe suggests comparison with Coleridge, in his prose one oftenest thinks of De Quincey. If at times he can be as clear cut in his style as the most extreme realist, at other times there is all the charm of melody and color. The pursuit of perfection in phrase and form was one of his most characteristic passions. After all, this is his great bequest to American, and especially to Southern, literature. Hawthorne's story, The Artist of the Beautiful, is an admirable interpretation of Poe's life and art. Nowhere else in these selections will there be seen such felicity and finality of style and such perfection of literary form as in The Fall of the House of Usher. In no other Southern stories is there such a steadfast adherence to the demands of art for art's sake.

        There is little of the Southern landscape or character in Poe's poetry or prose. His imagination found a home only in far off lands, sometimes even in the Middle Ages, or yet again in the fantastic places of his own mind

Page 6

as it went voyaging through strange seas of imagination alone. "He haunted a borderland between the visible and the invisible, a land of waste places, ruined battlements, and shadowy forms, wrapped in a melancholy twilight."

        And yet there is a sense in which Poe was Southern, in temperament, and even in art. One may not go so far as a recent American critic when he says that Poe was as much the product of the South as Whittier was of New England, and still maintain that he has a distinct place among Southern writers. Though born in Boston he spent his youthful days in Richmond, as an adopted son in a family that was in close touch with the best elements of Southern life. At a Richmond classical school he received that classical training which was particularly characteristic of the ante-bellum South. He resided for one scholastic year at the newly established University of Virginia, where he added to his knowledge of the classics an intimate study of modern literature. In Baltimore he received his first recognition when the committee of which John P. Kennedy was a member discovered his genius as a poet and as a writer of short stories. In 1835 he became editor of the most distinctively Southern magazine, the Southern Literary Messenger, in which he published some of his best tales and his criticisms of contemporary writings. It is in his critical writings that Poe's Southern bent of mind was most notably evinced; for here he manifested a characteristic prejudice against New England writers and a corresponding sympathy with Southern writers. "He always lived in the North as an alien," says Professor

Page 7

Woodberry, "somewhat on his guard, somewhat contemptuous of his surroundings, always homesick for the place that he well knew would know him no more though he were to return to it." No apology need therefore be made for including him among Southern writers.

        More characteristic of the South, however, were those romances in which William Gilmore Simms, John P. Kennedy, John Esten Cooke, and later writers, realizing the wealth of material in Southern history and tradition, wrought out their stirring historical romances. The selections from these romances, included in this volume, suggest various periods of Southern and national history. The historical background of Simms's The Yemassee is the conflict between the Indians and the English colonists of South Carolina about the year 1715. Simms's early life fitted him pre-eminently for the rôle of a romancer. The stories of the Revolutionary War and of the early colonial era, told to him by his grandmother, the weird tales of ghosts and witches which he gathered from other story-tellers, and his actual contact with pioneers and Indians in the South-west--all stimulated in him a natural fondness for stirring, romantic themes. This temperament, enhanced by study of colonial history and traditions, culminated in The Yemassee, and in his romance of the Revolution, The Partisan.

        A better story of the Revolutionary era, however, is Horse-Shoe Robinson, published in 1835 by John P. Kennedy. The selection given from this book presents some idea of the romantic warfare carried on by the mountaineers of North and South Carolina against

Page 8

the despotism of the Tory ascendancy. The elemental humanity, the courage, the resourcefulness, and the perseverance of Horse-Shoe Robinson are suggested in Kennedy's characterization of him and in the capture of the five Scotchmen with the aid of a brave and adventurous lad.

        John Esten Cooke, who is more popularly known by his stories of the Civil War, is represented by a citation from his earliest book, The Virginia Comedians, or Old Days in the Old Dominion, the background of which is the era just preceding the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The scene is laid in Williamsburg at the time when the new forces of freedom and democracy were struggling against the Established Church and the feudal system of society which then prevailed in Virginia. Perhaps the most interesting part of the novel is the account given of the acting of the first play ever performed in America, The Merchant of Venice.

        While they do not belong strictly to this section of the book, the editors have thought well to put here the selections from Audubon and Crockett, as giving better than any fiction the real spirit of the pioneer days.

        Of the stirring incidents of the Civil War, Mr. Thomas Nelson Page's Burial of the Guns gives a most striking suggestion. The story is complete in itself, and in its presentation of the heroism and tragedy of that fateful era leaves little to be said. The time has not yet come when the full meaning of that great struggle can be suggested in dramatic or romantic form, but the stories of Mr. Page, notably Marse Chan and Meh Lady, are clearly an anticipation of greater work yet to be

Page 9

done. The transition from the old order to the new is best seen in the novels of another Virginia writer, Miss Ellen Glasgow. The Voice of the People, from which a selection is given, is not only a work of art, but is a real contribution to the interpretation of the present South.

        Distinctly different in type and in quality from Poe's stories and from the selections from historical romances are the short stories of Southern writers which have to do with local scenes and characters. The short story after the Civil War had to do principally with the characteristics of the various sections and even States of the Republic. Bret Harte, in his stories of Western life, inaugurated a new era in American fiction. A host of American writers have followed his lead in exploring the different sections and in explaining the people of one State to the people of the others. The short story has become the national mode of utterance in the things of the imagination. In the absence of any truly national novel, which has so long been the ideal of American story writers and critics, these short stories of local color have served to reveal provincial types and local scenes. With their contemporaries in all sections of the country the Southern writers have wrought to this end. About 1875 their short stories began to appear in Northern magazines. Gradually they revealed all the picturesque phases of Southern life and scenery. Their writings have served to reveal the South to itself and to the nation. To these authors literature has been a profession and not a pastime. They have written with discipline and restraint, and the best of

Page 10

them take their rank among the best contemporary writers of America.

        In some of the short stories that are selected as typical the interest is that of the character sketch. From Southern stories and novels there might be gathered passages which would be a complete portrait gallery of Southern men and women. In the stories of Joel Chandler Harris, Charles Egbert Craddock, Thomas Nelson Page, George W. Cable, James Lane Allen, and John Fox we have a great variety of types--the old-time negro, the Southern gentleman and lady, the Creole, the mountaineer, and the Kentuckians of the blue-grass country. In these provincial types, and especially in Free Joe and Jean-ah Poquelin, we have the portrayal of that elemental nature which makes the whole world kin.

        In other stories the chief point of interest is the delicate handling of landscape. Southern writers have been quick to realize the wealth of natural scenery that awaited writers with seeing eyes and portraying hands. No writer has displayed greater power of description than Miss Murfree, from whose stories a series of masterly paintings might be sketched. In The Star in the Valley the mountains play an important rôle. They, along with the trees, the sun, moon, and stars, are not merely spectators but participants. In fact, one feels at times that the author has let her undoubted ability of description interfere with her dramatic presentation of characters. She lingers over the setting of her pictures too long; and yet in this way she has ministered to one

Page 11

of the essential appeals made by modern fiction--the feeling for landscape.

        The same point may be made with regard to the exquisite landscapes of Mr. James Lane Allen's stories. Nature is an important character in his Kentucky Cardinal, The Choir Invisible, and the Summer in Arcady. Her influence streams through the story, sometimes serving as a background, but oftener as a sort of chorus to the drama of human nature. His ability to describe and interpret nature may well be seen in the selection entitled On a Day in June. Only the careful reading of all his stories will give one any adequate idea of the poetic glamour which he has cast over those fair regions, or his romantic, and even transcendental, attitude to nature.

        Surely no American writer ever had a finer background for his stories and novels than George W. Cable. In his Old Creole Days and The Grandissimes we have the artistic blending of scenery, architecture, and romance. Now it is the rich luxuriance of the swamps and bayous, now the Rue Royale--a long narrowing perspective of arcades, lattices, balconies, dormer windows, and blue sky--and yet again some large old Creole mansion that survives as a reminder of the romantic past.

        It must not be thought, however, that these story writers, in suggesting the wealth of natural scenery and human nature, are lacking in the ability to construct artistic plots. None of them equals Poe in his ability to produce a single startling plot. And yet the short stories that are presented in this book deserve to rank,

Page 12

even from the stand-point of artistic structure, among the best American stories.

        Aside from all question of local background or types of human nature or plot, Southern fiction is pre-eminently the product of the Southern temperament. A writer in the Atlantic Monthly, reviewing Southern fiction as a whole, said in 1885: "It is not the subjects offered by Southern writers which interest us so much as the manifestation of a spirit which seemed to be dying out of our literature. . . . We should not be greatly surprised if the historian of our literature a few generations hence should take note of an enlargement of American letters at this time through the agency of a new South. . . . The North refines to a keen analysis, the South enriches through a generous imagination. The breadth which characterizes the best Southern writings, the large free handling, the confident imagination, are legitimate results of the careless yet masterful and hospitable life which has pervaded that section. We have had our laugh at the florid, coarse-flavored literature which has not yet disappeared at the South, but we are witnessing now the rise of a school that shows us the worth of generous nature when it has been schooled and ordered."

        The same may be said of the best Southern poetry, which forms the second part of this volume. The selections have been arranged in groups rather than chronologically or according to their authors. They are printed in the following divisions: nature poems, tributes to Southern heroes, narratives in verse, love poems, and reflective poems. It will be seen that these

Page 13

subjects indicate the various appeals that poetry makes to the human heart. For a long time the writing of poetry was at a discount in the South. The author of one of the most popular ante-bellum lyrics was urged by his friends never to have anything to do with poetry--advice that was typical of the attitude of many Southerners. Those who did write poetry paid little heed to the human life or nature about them. Their poetry was likely to be sentimental and in its choice of subjects remote from the interests of everyday life. Following the lead of Byron, they had a view of life which was melancholy and at times morbid.

        Even in the ante-bellum period, however, there were some poems that suggested the characteristic land-scapes of the South. We find such poems in Meek's Land of the South, Timrod's Cotton Boll, and in poems on the mocking-bird by Albert Pike, Meek, and Richard Henry Wilde.

        The writers of the new South have, like the short-story writers already mentioned, been far more sensitive to local influence. Paul Hamilton Hayne, after the Civil War, lived at Copse Hill, near Augusta, Georgia. His devotion to poetry under so many adverse circumstances is one of the finest traditions of American literary history. He lived in a cabin of his own building--an extraordinary shanty which seemed to have been tossed by a supernatural pitchfork upon the most desolate of hills. Around him, however, were forests of pines, and of these in all their relations to cloud and sky and sun he has written many of his best poems, some of which are reproduced in the selections herewith given.

Page 14

        Another Georgia poet, Sidney Lanier, wrote with added poetic passion and power of the marshes, mountains, rivers, and birds of the South. The song of the river that flowed by his birthplace is reproduced in The Song of the Chattachoochee; the robins of Tampa made melody for his weary soul and sing even now in his onomatopoetic lines. For the marshes of the Georgia coast he essayed to do what Wordsworth did for the mountains and lakes of northern England. It is a great misfortune that he did not live to complete the series of poems which he planned on the marshes of Glynn. One may take consolation for the fact, however, in the two poems which he did leave--Sunrise and The Marshes of Glynn. Both poems rank among the best interpretations of landscape in American poetry, and the latter especially, in its orchestral-like music and in its marvellous blending of forest, marsh, sky and sea, should be considered one of the masterpieces of American poetry.

        In nearly every other Southern State poets have written of particular aspects of nature--notably Madison Cawein of Kentucky, Samuel Minturn Peck of Alabama, John Charles McNeill and John Henry Boner of North Carolina, and Walter Malone of Tennessee. Their poems do not show the originality of Timrod and Lanier; they are typical of the magazine poetry of the present.

        Nearer to the popular mind and heart are the poems of war. It should always be remembered that it was a Southerner, Francis Scott Key, who in the dawn of a fine

Page 15

day in Chesapeake Bay, seeing the flag of his country floating upon a vessel at the time of the War of 1812, composed the lines of The Star - Spangled Banner. Theodore O'Hara wrote a dirge on the heroes of the Mexican War, which is now quoted in memory of all the brave who have died upon the field of battle. But it was the Civil War that awoke the passion of poetry in the Southern heart. When there flashed upon poetic souls, not the political issues that were at stake, but the great human situation of the struggle, they gave voice to the pent-up feelings of a new nation. James Ryder Randall, a native of Maryland, but at that time a teacher in Louisiana, could not sleep one night because he was thinking of an invading army in his native State, and in the darkness of the night he composed My Maryland. The words were at once set to music and became the inspiration of Southern soldiers. Never again did the author feel the lyrical impulse, but for a moment he caught the notes of the eternal melodies. Henry Timrod, who at the beginning of the Civil War had just begun to attract the attention of readers and critics throughout the country, was lifted to the heights of poetic inspiration by the struggle of his people. His poems, Carolina and Ethnogenesis, express the real spirit of South Carolina. After the War, when he was suffering from the pangs of poverty and disease, he wrote the Ode on the Confederate Dead--"as perfect in its tone and workmanship as though it had come out of the Greek anthology." The last stanza merits the praise that Holmes gave to Emerson's Concord Hymn: the words seem as if they had been carved

Page 16

upon marble for a thousand years. Other poets wrote at different times during the War, but of their poems only a few are of any noteworthy value. Different from the poems which served to interpret the significance of the conflict are the tributes to various soldiers who fell in the war, notably Ticknor's Little Giffen, Randall's John Pelham, and Thompson's Ashby. When the War was over, and the Southern people sat in the shadow of great disappointment and despair, Father Ryan wrote The Conquered Banner and The Sword of Robert Lee--poems which expressed in popular verse the undaunted and unbroken spirit of the South. It is easy to see the defects of his poetry, but it is also easy to understand why his lines have so sung themselves into the heart of his people.

        The patriotic poetry of the South does not end, however, with the note of defeat and despair. Hayne, in his tributes to Longfellow and Whittier, struck the new note of nationalism, and Maurice Thompson interpreted the aspirations of a new era when he wrote of

                       "The South whose gaze is cast
                       No more upon the past,
                       But whose bright eyes the skies of promise sweep,
                       Whose feet in paths of progress swiftly leap;
                       And whose past thoughts, like cheerful rivers run,
                       Through odorous ways to meet the morning sun!"

        But it was Sidney Lanier, who having been a brave Confederate soldier and having suffered from the strain and stress of the Reconstruction days, interpreted the new national spirit of the Southern people in his Centennial

Page 17

poem of 1876. In the very same year he wrote a much better poem, The Psalm of the West, in which he sings the triumph of freedom and nationalism. In no other American verse is there a more vivid realization of the meaning of the Republic in the larger life of the world than in the Columbus sonnets of this poem.

        Of the other divisions of poems little need be said. Unfortunately, Southern poets have not made use of legends and stories to the same degree that the poets of New England have. The few given in this volume are prophetic of what may be done with this type of verse rather than suggestive of the actual achievement. Of the love poems the most significant are those of Poe and Lanier, Poe best representing the note of melancholy at the thought of the decline and passing away of a beautiful woman, and Lanier the note of aspiration and hope in the rapture of a human soul at the triumph of love. The two poets wrote out of the experience of their lives. There is no more pathetic and tragic love story in literary history than that of Poe and Virginia Clemm; and there is no more inspiring and romantic love story than that of Sidney Lanier and Mary Day. Of less poetic passion but of perhaps a finer delicacy of art are the love poems of Pinckney and of the late Father Tabb. No American Anthology would be complete without the sad and tender poems of reflection.

        A distinct feature of the present volume is a collection of letters, which range all the way from the simplest statement of facts to the highest interpretations of art

Page 18

and duty. Some of them will serve as models for clear cut simple letters--a need emphasized to an increasing degree by recent books on composition and rhetoric. Some of them are interesting contemporary accounts of important historical incidents. Sidney Lanier's letters suggest in a very striking way two or three of the most significant aspects of his own genius. The most important of all are those of Robert E. Lee. This idol of the Southern people has left no other record of his mind and heart. He wrote no reminiscences nor historical accounts of the battles in which he was the chief figure. So his letters will always have an especial value. Written in clear, simple style, and in a beautiful, calm spirit, they serve as the best interpretation of his great life. The more one reads them, especially those written after the War, the more he feels that as Lee was the climax of the old South, so he was the leader and the prophet of the new South. All the forces of enlightenment that are now remaking Southern civilization should claim him as the champion of nationalism rather than sectionalism, of reason rather than passion, of fairness rather than prejudice, of progress rather than reaction, of constructive work rather than futile obstruction.

        Perhaps in no other part of the world was the orator held in such high repute as in the South before the War. It has been customary to justify the lack of creative literature in that period by citing the fact that the South led the Nation in oratory. "It was the spoken word, not the printed page, that guided the thought, aroused enthusiasm, made history. These were the true universities

Page 19

of the lower South--law courts and the great religious and political gatherings--as truly as a grove was the university of Athens. The man who wished to lead or to teach must be able to speak. He could not touch the artistic sense of the people with pictures, or statues, or verse, or plays; he must charm them with voice and gesture."1

        It has not been thought necessary to republish many of those orations which are so familiar already to Southern youth. Of the earlier speeches, only one each of Calhoun and Clay is here given--the one the best expression of the attitude of those who favored secession, and the other typical of those who would save the Union at any cost. Emphasis has been laid upon the orations of the leaders of a more recent era--speeches which express the spirit of progress and nationalism now so marked in Southern life. Senator Hill's speech delivered in 1871 is remarkable for its acute analysis of the defects of the old social order and for its prophecy of the new industrial era. Lamar's speech on Charles Sumner is typical of that broader spirit which would sympathetically understand the motives and ideas of the people of New England. Many can still recall the wonderful effect produced by Henry Grady's speech at the New England banquet in New York, when he so eloquently interpreted the South to the nation and the nation to the South. In it we have an epitome of the work accomplished by him in his brief and brilliant career as editor and orator. Henry Watterson's tribute to Abraham

        1 The Lower South in American History, by William Garrot Brown.

Page 20

Lincoln is likewise and expression of the increasing admiration the South has for this great national hero. President Alderman's Sectionalism and Nationality is an interpretation of the significance of the great changes that have been wrought during the past generation; while Mr. Walter H. Page's The School that Built a Town is a prophecy of the marvellous future toward which the South is now so surely moving.

Page 21



Page 23



                       Son coeur est un luth suspendu;
                       Sitôt qu'on le touche il résonne. BÉRANGER. 2

        DURING the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain, upon the bleak walls, upon the vacant eye-like

        1 The Fall of The House of Usher was first published in the Gentleman's Magazine for September, 1839. Poe's name in literature does not rest upon this story, but it constitutes one of his characteristic descriptions of the unreal, ghostly, and supernatural world, in which department he made for himself an enduring fame.

        2 "His heart is a suspended lute; as soon as it is touched it resounds."--J. P. de Béranger (1780-1857), a popular French lyric poet.

Page 24

windows, upon a few rank sedges, and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul, which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium; the bitter lapse into everyday life, the hideous dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart--an unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into aught of the sublime. What was it--I paused to think--what was it that so unnerved me in the contemplation of the House of Usher? It was a mystery all insoluble; nor could I grapple with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate, its capacity for sorrowful impression; and acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn1 that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down--but with a shudder even more thrilling than before--upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the ghastly tree stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.

        Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon

        1 A small mountain lake.

Page 25

companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a distant part of the country--a letter from him--which in its wildly importunate nature had admitted of no other than a personal reply. The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The writer spoke of acute bodily illness, of a mental disorder which oppressed him, and of an earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the manner in which all this, and much more, was said--it was the apparent heart that went with his request--which allowed me no room for hesitation; and I accordingly obeyed forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons.

        Although as boys we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual. I was aware, however, that his very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and manifested of late in repeated deeds of, munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily recognizable beauties, of musical science. I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth at no period any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. It was this deficiency, I considered,

Page 26

while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other--it was this deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission from sire to son of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher"--an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion.

        I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment--that of looking down within the tarn--had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition--for why should I not so term it?--served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool, there grew in my mind a strange fancy--a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity--an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarn--

Page 27

a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.

        Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity. The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts and the crumbling condition of the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zig-zag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.

        Noticing these things, I rode over a short cause-way to the house. A servant in waiting took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master. Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know not how, to heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already spoken. While the objects around me--while the carvings of the ceilings, the sombre

Page 28

tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to which, or to such as which, I had been accustomed from my infancy--while I hesitated not to acknowledge how familiar was all this--I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were the fancies which ordinary images were stirring up. On one of the staircases, I met the physician of the family. His countenance, I thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity. He accosted me with trepidation and passed on. The valet now threw open a door and ushered me into the presence of his master.

        The room in which I found myself was very large and lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

        Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length, and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an overdone cordiality--of the constrained effort of the ennuyé man of the world.

Page 29

A glance, however, at his countenance, convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe. Surely man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve; a nose of delicate Hebrew model,1 but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar formations; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity; these features, with an inordinate expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

        1 In his Ligeia Poe has this sentence: "I looked at the delicate outlines of the nose, and nowhere but in the graceful medallions of the Hebrews had I beheld a similar perfection."

Page 30

        In the manner of my friend I was at once struck with an incoherence--an inconsistency; and I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble and futile struggles to overcome an habitual trepidancy--an excessive nervous agitation. For something of this nature I had indeed been prepared, no less by his letter than by reminiscences of certain boyish traits, and by conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical conformation and temperament. His action was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision (when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision--that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation--that leaden, self-balanced, and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement.

        It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest desire to see me, and of the solace he expected me to afford him. He entered, at some length, into what he conceived to be the nature of his malady. It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and one for which he despaired to find a remedy--a mere nervous affection, he immediately added, which would undoubtedly soon pass off. It displayed itself in a host of unnatural sensations. Some of these, as he detailed them, interested and bewildered me; although, perhaps, the terms and the general manner of the narration had their weight. He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only garments of certain texture; the odors of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were

Page 31

tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.

        To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. "I shall perish," said he, "I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect--in terror. In this unnerved--in this pitiable condition--I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR."

        I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another singular feature of his mental condition. He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be restated--an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit--an effect which the physique of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale1 of his existence.

        He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted

        1 Mental state: spirit.

Page 32

him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued illness--indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution, of a tenderly beloved sister--his sole companion for long years--his last and only relative on earth. "Her decease," he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." While he spoke, the lady Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment, and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter astonishment not unmingled with dread--and yet I found it impossible to account for such feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps. When a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance of the brother--but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.

        The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians. A settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis. Hitherto she had steadily borne up against the pressure of her malady, and had not betaken herself finally to bed; but, on the closing in of the evening of my arrival at the house, she succumbed (as her brother told me at night with inexpressible agitation) to the prostrating power of the destroyer; and I learned that the glimpse I had obtained of her person would thus probably be the

Page 33

last I should obtain--that the lady, at least while living, would be seen by me no more.

        For several days ensuing, her name was unmentioned by either Usher or myself; and during this period I was busied in earnest endeavors to alleviate the melancholy of my friend. We painted and read together; or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.

        I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the way. An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all. His long improvised dirges will ring forever in my ears. Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber.1 From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and which grew, touch by touch, into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not why;-from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain endeavor to educe more than a small portion

        1 Karl Maria, Baron von Weber (1786-1826), a celebrated German musician.

Page 34

which should lie within the compass of merely written words. By the utter simplicity, by the nakedness of his designs, he arrested and overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at least, in the circumstances then surrounding me, there arose, out of the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too concrete reveries of Fuseli.1

        One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so rigidly of the spirit of abstraction, may be shadowed forth, although feebly, in words. A small picture presented the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth, white, and without interruption or device. Certain accessory points of the design served well to convey the idea that this excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the earth. No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no torch or other artificial source of light was discernible; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor.

        I have just spoken of that morbid condition of the auditory nerve which rendered all music intolerable to the sufferer, with the exception of certain effects of stringed instruments. It was, perhaps, the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar, which gave birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of his performances. But the fervid facility of his impromptus could not be so accounted for. They must have been, and were, in the

        1 Henry Fuseli (1741-1825), born in Zurich, a famous artist.

Page 35

notes, as well as in the words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded as observable only in particular moments of the highest artificial excitement. The words of one of these rhapsodies I have easily remembered. I was, perhaps, the more forcibly impressed with it, as he gave it, because, in the under or mystic current of its meaning, I fancied that I perceived, and for the first time, a full consciousness, on the part of Usher, of the tottering of his lofty reason upon her throne. The verses, which were entitled "The Haunted Palace," ran very nearly, if not accurately, thus:--


                       "In the greenest of our valleys
                       By good angels tenanted,
                       Once a fair and stately palace--
                       Radiant palace--reared its head.
                       In the monarch Thought's dominion,
                       It stood there;
                       Never seraph spread a pinion
                       Over fabric half so fair.


                       "Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
                       On its roof did float and flow,
                       (This--all this--was in the olden
                       Time long ago)
                       And every gentle air that dallied,
                       In that sweet day,
                       Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
                       A wingèd odor went away.
Page 36


                       "Wanderers in that happy valley
                       Through two luminous windows saw
                       Spirits moving musically
                       To a lute's well-tunèd law,
                       Round about a throne where, sitting,
                       In state his glory well befitting,
                       The ruler of the realm was seen.


                       "And all with pearl and ruby glowing
                       Was the fair palace door,
                       Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
                       And sparkling evermore,
                       A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty
                       Was but to sing,
                       In voices of surpassing beauty,
                       The wit and wisdom of their king.


                       "But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
                       Assailed the monarch's high estate;
                       (Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow
                       Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
                       And round about his home the glory
                       That blushed and bloomed
                       Is but a dim-remembered story
                       Of the old time entombed.


                       "And travellers now within that valley
                       Through the red-litten2 windows see
                       Vast forms that move fantastically
                       To a discordant melody;
Page 37

                       While, like a ghastly rapid river,
                       Through the pale door
                       A hideous throng rush out forever,
                       And laugh--but smile no more."

        1 Of royal birth.

        2 Old participial form of the verb light.

        I well remember that suggestions arising from this ballad led us into a train of thought, wherein there became manifest an opinion of Usher's which I mention not so much on account of its novelty, (for other men1 have thought thus,) as on account of the pertinacity with which he maintained it. This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience2 of all vegetable things. But in his disordered fancy the idea had assumed a more daring character, and trespassed, under certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization.3 I lack words to express the full extent, or the earnest abandon, of his persuasion. The belief, however, was connected (as I have previously hinted) with the gray stones of the home of his forefathers. The conditions of the sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of collocation of these stones--in the order of their arrangement, as well as in that of the many fungi which over-spread them, and of the decayed trees which stood around--above all, in the long undisturbed endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still waters of the tarn. Its evidence--the evidence of the sentience--was to be seen, he said (and I here started as he spoke), in the gradual yet certain condensation of an atmosphere of their own about the waters and the walls. The result was discoverable,

        1 Watson, Dr. Percival, Spallanzani, and especially the Bishop of Landaff. See Chemical Essays, vol. v.

        2 Possession of mental life.

        3 That is, the mineral kingdom.

Page 38

he added, in that silent, yet importunate and terrible influence which for centuries had moulded the destinies of his family, and which made him what I now saw him--what he was. Such opinions need no comment, and I will make none.

        Our books--the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of the mental existence of the invalid--were, as might be supposed, in strict keeping with this character of phantasm. We pored together over such works as the Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset1; the Belphegor of Machiavelli;2 the Heaven and Hell of Swedenborg;3 the Subterranean Voyage of Nicholas Klimm by Holberg;4 the Chiromancy of Robert Flud,5 of Jean D'Indaginé,6 and of De la Chambre; the Journey into the Blue Distance of Tieck;7 and the City of the Sun of Campanella.8 One favorite volume was a small octavo edition of the Directorium Inquisitorum, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne;9 and there were passages in Pomponius Mela,10 about the old African Satyrs and

        1 Jean Baptiste Gresset (1709-1777), a French poet and dramatist.

        2 Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), a Florentine statesman and political writer.

        3 Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a Swedish theologian and naturalist.

        4 Ludwig von Holberg (1684-1754), a Danish poet and dramatist.

        5 Robert Flud (1574-1637), an English physician and philosopher.

        6 Jean D'Indaginé and De la Chambre, European writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries respectively.

        7 Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), a German romanticist.

        8 Tomaso Campanella (1568-1639), an Italian philosopher.

        9 Nicholas Eymeric (1320-1399), a judge of the heretics in the Spanish Inquisition.

        10 Pomponius Mela, a Spanish geographer.

Page 39

Ægipans,1 over which Usher would sit dreaming for hours.His chief delight, however, was found in the perusal of an exceedingly rare and curious book in quarto Gothic--the manual of a forgotten church--the Vigilioe Mortuorum secundum Chorum Ecclesioe Maguntinoe.2

        I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight (previously to its final interment), in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the building. The worldly reason, however, assigned for this singular proceeding, was one which I did not feel at liberty to dispute. The brother had been led to his resolution (so he told me) by consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased, of certain obtrusive and eager inquiries on the part of her medical men, and of the remote and exposed situation of the burial-ground of the family. I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister countenance of the person whom I met upon the staircase, on the day of my arrival at the house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a harmless, and by no means an unnatural, precaution.

        At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary entombment. The body having been encoffined, we two alone bore it to its rest. The vault in which we placed it (and

        1 Ægipans, the god Pan.

        2 "Night Watches of the Dead like unto the Choir of the Church of Maguntina."

Page 40

which had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in its oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation) was small, damp, and entirely without means of admission for light; lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that portion of the building in which was my own sleeping apartment. It had been used, apparently, in remote feudal times, for the worst purposes of a donjon1-keep, and in later days as a place of deposit for powder, or some other highly combustible substance, as a portion of its floor, and the whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it, were carefully sheathed with copper. The door, of massive iron, had been, also, similarly protected. Its immense weight caused an unusually sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.

        Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention; and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long upon the dead--for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced

        1 Dungeon.

Page 41

and screwed down the lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toil, into the scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.

        And now, some days of bitter grief having elapsed, an observable change came over the features of the mental disorder of my friend. His ordinary manner had vanished. His ordinary occupations were neglected or forgotten. He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step. The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if possible, a more ghastly hue--but the luminousness of his eye had utterly gone out. The once occasional huskiness of his tone was heard no more; and a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror, habitually characterized his utterance. There were times, indeed, when I thought his unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret, to divulge which he struggled for the necessary courage. At times, again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere inexplicable vagaries of madness, for I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long hours, in an attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to some imaginary sound. It was no wonder that his condition terrified--that it infected me. I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet certain degrees, the wild influences of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions.

        It was, especially, upon retiring to bed late in the night of the seventh or eighth day after the placing of the lady Madeline within the donjon, that I experienced the full power of such feelings. Sleep came not near my couch--while the hours waned and waned away. I struggled to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me. I endeavored to believe that much, if not all, of what I felt was due

Page 42

to the bewildering influence of the gloomy furniture of the room--of the dark and tattered draperies which, tortured into motion by the breath of a rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the decoration of the bed. But my efforts were fruitless. An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame; and at length there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp and a struggle, I uplifted myself upon the pillows, and, peering earnestly within the intense darkness of the chamber, hearkened--I know not why, except that an instinctive spirit prompted me--to certain low and indefinite sounds which came through the pauses of the storm, at long intervals, I know not whence. Overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror, unaccountable yet unendurable, I threw on my clothes with haste (for I felt that I should sleep no more during the night), and endeavored to arouse myself from the pitiable condition into which I had fallen, by pacing rapidly to and fro through the apartment.

        I had taken but few turns in this manner, when a light step on an adjoining staircase arrested my attention. I presently recognized it as that of Usher. In an instant afterward he rapped with a gentle touch at my door, and entered, bearing a lamp. His countenance was, as usual, cadaverously wan--but, moreover, there was a species of mad hilarity in his eyes--an evidently restrained hysteria in his whole demeanor. His air appalled me--but anything was preferable to the solitude which I had so long endured, and I even welcomed his presence as a relief.

        "And you have not seen it?" he said abruptly, after having stared about him for some moments in

Page 43

silence--"you have not then seen it?--but, stay! you shall." Thus speaking, and having carefully shaded his lamp, he hurried to one of the casements, and threw it freely open to the storm.

        The impetuous fury of the entering gust nearly lifted us from our feet. It was, indeed, a tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty. A whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity; for there were frequent and violent alterations in the direction of the wind; and the exceeding density of the clouds (which hung so low as to press upon the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving the lifelike velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each other, without passing away into the distance. I say that even their exceeding density did not prevent our perceiving this; yet we had no glimpse of the moon or stars, nor was there any flashing forth of the lightning. But the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the mansion.

        "You must not--you shall not behold this!" said I, shudderingly, to Usher, as I led him with a gentle violence from the window to a seat. "These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in the rank miasma of the tarn. Let us close this casement; the air is chilling and dangerous to your frame. Here is one of your favorite romances. I will read, and you shall listen;--and so we will pass away this terrible night together."

Page 44

        The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist"1 of Sir Launcelot Canning; but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in sad jest than in earnest; for, in truth, there is little in its uncouth and unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for the lofty and spiritual ideality of my friend. It was, however, the only book immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac might find relief (for history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness of the folly which I should read. Could I have judged, indeed, by the wild overstrained air of vivacity with which he hearkened, or apparently hearkened, to the words of the tale, I might well have congratulated myself upon the success of my design.

        I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred, the hero of the Trist, having sought in vain for peaceable admission into the dwelling of the hermit, proceeds to make good an entrance by force. Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run thus:

        "And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and with blows made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand; and now pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the dry and hollow-sounding wood alarumed and reverberated throughout the forest."

        1 Both the title and the extracts are probably invented by Poe.

Page 45

        At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment paused; for it appeared to me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me)--it appeared to me that from some very remote portion of the mansion there came, indistinctly, to my ears, what might have been, in its exact similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot had so particularly described. It was, beyond doubt, the coincidence alone which had arrested my attention; for, amid the rattling of the sashes of the casements, and the ordinary commingled noises of the still increasing storm, the sound, in itself, had nothing, surely, which should have interested or disturbed me. I continued the story:

        "But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was sore enraged and amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit; but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a scaly and prodigious demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of gold, with a floor of silver; and upon the wall there hung a shield of shining brass with this legend enwritten--

                       Who entereth herein a conqueror hath bin;
                       Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall win.

And Ethelred uplifted his mace, and struck upon the head of the dragon, which fell before him, and gave up his pesty breath, with a shriek so horried and harsh, and withal so piercing, that Ethelred had fain1 to close his ears with his hands against the dreadful noise of it, the like whereof was never before heard."

        Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement; for there could be no

        1 Wished (obsolete).

Page 46

doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh, protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound--the exact counterpart of what my fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.

        Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of this second and most extraordinary coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation, the sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had during the last few minutes taken place in his demeanor. From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber; and thus I could but partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast--yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile. The motion of his body, too, was at variance with this idea--for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant and uniform sway. Having rapidly taken notice of all this, I resumed the narrative of Sir Launcelot, which thus proceeded:

        "And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it, removed the carcass from out of the way before him, and approached

Page 47

valorously over the silver pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall; which in sooth tarried not for his full coming, but fell down at his feet upon the silver floor, with a mighty great and terrible ringing sound."

        No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than--as if a shield of brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver--I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation. Completely unnerved, I leaped to my feet; but the measured rocking movement of Usher was undisturbed. I rushed to the chair in which he sat. His eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole countenance there reigned a stony rigidity. But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there came a strong shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence. Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words.

        "Not hear it?--yes, I hear it, and have heard it. Long--long--long--many minutes, many hours, many days, have I heard it--yet I dared not--oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I am!--I dared not--I dared not speak! We have put her living in the tomb! Said I not that my senses were acute? I now tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them--many, many days ago--yet I dared not--I dared not speak! And now--to-night--Ethelred--ha! ha!--the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangor of the shield!--say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault! Oh,

Page 48

whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart? MADMAN!"--here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul--"MADMAN! I TELL YOU THAT SHE NOW STANDS WITHOUT THE DOOR!"

        As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell, the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed threw slowly back, upon the instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust--but then without those doors there did stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold--then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and, in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated.

        From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that of the full, setting, and blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure, of which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zig-zag direction, to the base. While

Page 49

I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "HOUSE OF USHER."

Page 50



                       "The pain of death is nothing. To the chief,
                       The forest warrior, it is good to die--
                       To die as he has lived, battling and hoarse,
                       Shouting a song of triumph. But to live
                       Under such doom as this were far beyond
                       Even his stoic, cold philosophy."

        IT was a gloomy amphitheatre in the deep forests to which the assembled multitude bore the unfortunate Occonestoga. The whole scene was unique in that solemn grandeur, that sombre hue, that deep spiritual repose, in which the human imagination delights to invest the region which has been rendered remarkable for the deed of punishment or crime. A small swamp or morass hung upon one side of the wood, from the rank bosom of which, in numberless millions, the flickering fire-fly perpetually darted

        1 The historical background of this romance is the period of 1715, when the Yemassee Indians, joining with the Spaniards, rose against their former allies, the English of South Carolina.

        There are three Indian characters drawn with great power-Sanutee, one of the older chiefs, realizing that his own people are becoming corrupted by the English and feeling that a sort of sad fate awaits his nation, goes from the Indian capital one evening to inspect the English block-house, which is the fortress of the whites. His journey through the forest and his reflections serve as an admirable introduction to the story. His son, Occonestoga, is in thorough sympathy with the English, who have taught him the use of whiskey; in his father's eye he is an illustration of what may happen to the entire nation. Matiwan, the wife of Sanutee, is one of the best Indians ever drawn in fiction. She plays a difficult rôle, drawn one way by the love of her husband and another by the love for her son. The climax of her dramatic situation is reached in the thrilling chapter which is reproduced here, when she kills her son in order that he may not receive the curse of his tribe. In addition to these three characters, Simms has given vivid descriptions of the Indian council, the war-dance, the wild chant of battle, and the resourcefulness of the Indians in finding their way through the seemingly impenetrable forests. The conclusion of the story is an account of their attack upon the block-house and their final defeat by the English.

        From The Yemassee.

Page 51

upwards, giving a brilliance and animation to the spot, which, at that moment, no assemblage of life or light could possibly enliven. The ancient oak, a bearded Druid,1 was there to contribute to the due solemnity of all occasions--the green but gloomy cedar, the ghostly cypress, and here and there the overgrown pine,--all rose up in their primitive strength, and with an undergrowth around them of shrub and flower, that scarcely, at any time, in that sheltered and congenial habitation, had found it necessary to shrink from winter. In the centre of the area thus invested, rose a high and venerable mound, the tumulus of many preceding ages, from the washed sides of which might now and then be seen protruding the bleached bones of some ancient warrior or sage. A circle of trees, at a little distance, hedged it in,--made secure and sacred by the performance there of many of their religious rites and offices,--themselves, as they bore the broad arrow of the Yemassee, being free from all danger of overthrow or desecration by Indian hands.

        Amid the confused cries of the multitude, they bore the captive to the foot of the tumulus, and bound

        1 Druids, an order of priests among the ancient Gauls and Britons whose sacred rites were performed in oak forests.

Page 52

him backward, half-reclining, upon a tree. An hundred warriors stood around, armed according to the manner of the nation, each with a tomahawk and knife and bow. They stood up as for battle, but spectators, simply, and took no part in a proceeding which belonged entirely to the priesthood. In a wider and denser circle, gathered hundreds more--not the warriors, but the people--the old, the young, the women, and the children, all fiercely excited and anxious to see a ceremony, so awfully exciting to an Indian imagination; involving, as it did, not only the perpetual loss of human caste and national consideration, but the eternal doom, the degradation, the denial of and the exile from, their simple forest heaven. Interspersed with this latter crowd, seemingly at regular intervals, and with an allotted labor assigned them, came a number of old women, not unmeet representatives, individually, for either of the weird sisters of the Scottish Thane,1

                       "So withered and so wild in their attire--"

and, regarding their cries and actions, of whom we may safely affirm, that they looked like anything but inhabitants of earth! In their hands they bore, each of them, a flaming torch of the rich and gummy pine; and these they waved over the heads of the multitude in a thousand various evolutions, accompanying each movement with a fearful cry, which, at regular periods, was chorused by the assembled mass. A bugle, a native instrument of sound, five feet or more in length, hollowed out from the commonest timber--the cracks and breaks of which were carefully sealed up with the resinous gum oozing from their burning torches, and

        1 See Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii, line 40.

Page 53

which, to this day, borrowed from the natives, our Negroes employ on the Southern waters with a peculiar compass and variety of note--was carried by one of the party, and gave forth at intervals, timed with much regularity, a long, protracted, single blast, adding greatly to the wild and picturesque character of the spectacle. At the articulation of these sounds, the circle continued to contract, though slowly; until, at length, but a brief space lay between the armed warriors, the crowd, and the unhappy victim.

        The night grew dark of a sudden, and the sky was obscured by one of the brief tempests that usually usher in the summer, and mark the transition, in the South, of one season to another. A wild gust rushed along the wood. The leaves were whirled over the heads of the assemblage, and the trees bent downward, until they cracked and groaned again beneath the wind. A feeling of natural superstition crossed the minds of the multitude, as the hurricane, though common enough in that region, passed hurriedly along; and a spontaneous and universal voice of chaunted prayer rose from the multitude, in their own wild and emphatic language, to the evil deity whose presence they beheld in its progress:

                       "Thy wing, Opitchi-Manneyto,
                       It o'erthrows the tall trees--
                       Thy breath, Opitchi-Manneyto,
                       Makes the waters tremble--
                       Thou art in the hurricane,
                       When the wig-wam tumbles--
                       Thou art in the arrow-fire,
                       When the pine is shiver'd--
                       But upon the Yemassee,
                       Be thy coming gentle--

Page 54

                       Are they not thy well-beloved?
                       Bring they not a slave to thee?
                       Look! the slave is bound for thee,
                       'Tis the Yemassec that brings him.
                       Pass, Opitchi-Manneyto--
                       Pass, black spirit, pass from us--
                       Be thy passage gentle."

        And, as the uncouth strain rose at the conclusion into a diapason1 of unanimous and contending voices, of old and young, male and female, the brief summer tempest had gone by. A shout of self-gratulation, joined with warm acknowledgments, testified the popular sense and confidence in that especial Providence, which even the most barbarous nations claim as forever working in their behalf.

        At this moment, surrounded by the chiefs, and preceded by the great prophet or high-priest, Enoree-Mattee, came Sanutee, the well-beloved of the Yemassee, to preside over the destinies of his son. There was a due and becoming solemnity, but nothing of the peculiar feelings of the father visible in his countenance. Blocks of wood were placed around as seats for the chiefs, but Sanutee and the prophet threw themselves, with more imposing veneration in the proceeding, upon the edge of the tumulus, just where an overcharged spot, bulging out with the crowing bones of its inmates, had formed an elevation answering the purpose of couch or seat. They sat, directly looking upon the prisoner, who reclined, bound securely upon his back to a decapitated tree, at a little distance before them. A signal having been given, the women ceased their clamors, and approaching him, they waved their torches so closely above his

        1 A swelling chorus.

Page 55

head as to make all his features distinctly visible to the now watchful and silent multitude. He bore the examination with stern, unmoved features, which the sculptor in brass or marble might have been glad to transfer to his statue in the block. While the torches waved, one of the women now cried aloud, in a barbarous chant, above him:

                       "Is not this a Yemassee?
                       Wherefore is he bound thus--
                       Wherefore, with the broad arrow
                       On his right arm glowing,
                       Wherefore is he bound thus--
                       Is not this a Yemassee?"

A second woman now approached him, waving her torch in like manner, seeming closely to inspect his features, and actually passing her fingers over the emblem upon his shoulder, as if to ascertain more certainly the truth of the image. Having done this, she turned about to the crowd, and in the same barbarous sort of strain with the preceding, replied as follows:

                       ["]It is not the Yemassee,
                       But a dog that runs away,
                       From his right arm take the arrow,
                       He is not the Yemassee."

As these words were uttered, the crowd of women and children around cried out for the execution of the judgment thus given, and once again flamed the torches wildly, and the shoutings were general among the multitude. When they had subsided, a huge Indian came forward, and sternly confronted the prisoner. This man was Malatchie, the executioner; and he

Page 56

looked the horrid trade which he professed. His garments were stained and smeared with blood and covered with scalps, which, connected together by slight strings, formed a loose robe over his shoulders. In one hand he carried a torch, in the other a knife. He came forward, under the instructions of Enoree-Mattee, the prophet, to claim the slave of Opitchi-Manneyto,--that is, in our language, the slave of hell. This he did in the following strain[:]

                       "'Tis Opitchi-Manneyto
                       In Malatchie's ear that cries,
                       This is not the Yemassee--
                       And the woman's word is true--
                       He's a dog that should be mine,
                       I have hunted for him long,
                       From his master he had run,
                       With the stranger made his home,
                       Now I have him, he is mine--
                       Now I have him, he is mine--
                       Hear Opitchi-Manneyto."

And, as the besmeared and malignant executioner howled his fierce demand in the very ears of his victim, he hurled the knife which he carried, upward with such dexterity into the air, that it rested, point downward, and sticking fast on its descent into the tree and just above the head of the doomed Occonestoga. With his hand, the next instant, he laid a resolute grip upon the shoulder of the victim, as if to confirm and strengthen his claim by actual possession; while, at the same time, with a sort of malignant pleasure, he thrust his besmeared and distorted visage close into the face of his prisoner. Writhing against his ligaments which bound him fast, Occonestoga strove to turn his head aside from the disgusting and obtrusive presence;

Page 57

and the desperation of his effort, but that he had been too carefully secured, might have resulted in the release of some of his limbs; for the breast heaved and labored, and every muscle of his arms and legs was wrought, by his severe action, into so many ropes, hard, full, and indicative of prodigious strength.

        There was one person in that crowd who sympathized with the victim. This was Hiwassee, the maiden in whose ears he had uttered a word, which, in her thoughtless scream and subsequent declaration of the event, when she had identified him, had been the occasion of his captivity. Something of self-reproach for her share in his misfortune, and an old feeling of regard for Occonestoga, who had once been a favorite with the young of both sexes among his people, was at work in her bosom; and, turning to Echotee, her newly-accepted lover, as soon as the demand of Malatchie had been heard, she prayed him to resist the demand. In such cases, all that a warrior had to do was simply to join issue upon the claim, and the popular will then determines the question. Echotee could not resist an application so put to him, and by one who had just listened to a prayer of his own, so all-important to his own happiness; and being himself a noble youth, one who had been a rival of the captive in his better days, a feeling of generosity combined with the request of Hiwassee, and he boldly leaped forward. Seizing the knife of Malatchie, which stuck in the tree, he drew it forth and threw it upon the ground, thus removing the sign of property which the executioner had put up in behalf of the evil deity.

        "Occonestoga is the brave of the Yemassee," exclaimed the young Echotee, while the eyes of the captive looked what his lips could not have said. "Occonestoga

Page 58

is a brave of Yemassee--he is no dog of Malatchie. Wherefore is the cord upon the limbs of a free warrior? Is not Occonestoga a free warrior of Yemassee? The eyes of Echotee have looked upon a warrior like Occonestoga when he took many scalps. Did not Occonestoga lead the Yemassee against the Savannahs? The eyes of Echotee saw him slay the red-eyed Suwanee, the great chief of the Savannahs. Did not Occonestoga go on the war-path with our young braves against the Edistoes, the brown foxes that came out of the swamp? The eyes of Echotee beheld him. Occonestoga is a brave, and a hunter of Yemassee--he is not the dog of Malatchie. He knows not fear. He hath an arrow with wings, and the panther he runs down in the chase. His tread is the tread of a sly serpent that comes, so that he hears him not, upon the track of the red deer fleeing down the valley. Echotee knows the warrior--Echotee knows the hunter--he knows Occonestoga, but he knows no dog of Opitchi-Manneyto."

        "He hath drunk of the poison drink of the palefaces--his feet are gone from the good path of the Yemassee--he would sell his people to the English for a painted bird. He is the slave of Opitchi-Manneyto," cried Malatchie in reply. Echotee was not satisfied to yield the point so soon, and he responded accordingly.

        "It is true. The feet of the young warrior have gone away from the good paths of the Yemassee, but I see not the weakness of the chief, when my eye looks back upon the great deeds of the warrior. I see nothing but the shrinking body of Suwanee under the knee, under the knife of the Yemassee. I

Page 59

hear nothing but the war-whoop of the Yemassee, when we broke through the camp of the brown foxes, and scalped them where they skulked in the swamp. I see this Yemassee strike the foe and take the scalp, and I know Occonestoga--Occonestoga, the son of the well-beloved--the great chief of the Yemassee."

        "It is good--Occonestoga has thanks for Echotee--Echotee is a brave warrior!" murmured the captive to his champion, in tones of melancholy acknowledgment. The current of public feeling began to set somewhat in behalf of the victim, and an occasional whisper to that effect might be heard here and there among the multitude. Even Malatchie himself looked for a moment as if he thought it not improbable that he might be defrauded of his prey; and, while a free shout from many attested the compliment which all were willing to pay to Echotee for his magnanimous defence of one who had once been a rival--and not always successful--in the general estimation, the executioner turned to the prophet and to Sanutee, as if doubtful whether or not to proceed farther in his claim. But all doubt was soon quieted, as the stern father rose before the assembly. Every sound was stilled in expectation of his words on this so momentous an occasion to himself. They waited not long. The old man had tasked all the energies of the patriot, not less than of the stoic, and having once determined upon the necessity of the sacrifice, he had no hesitating fears or scruples palsying his determination. He seemed not to regard the imploring glances of his son, seen and felt by all besides in the assembly; but, with a voice entirely unaffected by the circumstances of his position, he spoke forth the doom of the victim in confirmation with that originally expressed.

Page 60

        "Echotee has spoken like a brave warrior with a tongue of truth, and a soul that has birth with the sun. But he speaks out of his own heart--and does not speak to the heart of the traitor. The Yemassee will all say for Echotee, but who can say for Occonestoga when Sanutee himself is silent? Does the Yemassee speak with a double tongue? Did not the Yemassee promise Occonestoga to Opitchi-Manneyto with the other chiefs? Where are they? They are gone into the swamp, where the sun shines not, and the eyes of Opitchi-Manneyto are upon them. He knows them for his slaves. The arrow is gone from their shoulders, and the Yemassee knows them no longer. Shall the dog escape, who led the way to the English--who brought the poison drink to the chiefs, who made them dogs to the English and slaves to Opitchi-Manneyto? Shall he escape the doom the Yemassee hath put upon them? Sanutee speaks the voice of the Manneyto. Occonestoga is a dog who would sell his father--who would make our women to carry water for the palefaces. He is not the son of Sanutee--Sanutee knows him no more. Look,--Yemassee--the well-beloved has spoken!"

        He paused, and turning away, sank down silently upon the little bank on which he had before rested; while Malatchie, without further opposition--for the renunciation of his own son by one so highly esteemed as Sanutee, was conclusive against the youth--advanced to execute the terrible judgment upon his victim.

        "Oh, father, chief, Sanutee, the well-beloved,"--was the cry that now, for the first time, burst convulsively from the lips of the prisoner--"hear me, father--Occonestoga will go on the war-path with

Page 61

thee, and with the Yemassee--against the Edisto, against the Spaniard--hear, Sanutee--he will go with thee against the English." But the old man bent not--yielded not, and the crowd gathered nigher in the intensity of their interest. "Wilt thou have no ear, Sanutee?--it is Occonestoga--it is the son of Matiwan that speaks to thee." Sanutee's head sank as the reference was made to Matiwan, but he showed no other sign of emotion. He moved not--he spoke not--and bitterly and hopelessly the youth exclaimed--"Oh! thou art colder than the stone house of the adder--and deafer than his ears. Father, Sanutee, wherefore wilt thou lose me, even as the tree its leaf, when the storm smites it in summer? Save me, my father." And his head sank in despair as he beheld the unchanging look of stern resolve with which the unbending sire regarded him.

        For a moment he was unmanned; until a loud shout of derision from the crowd, as they beheld the show of his weakness, came to the support of his pride. The Indian shrinks from humiliation where he would not shrink from death; and, as the shout reached his ears, he shouted back his defiance, raised his head loftily in air, and with the most perfect composure, commenced singing his song of death, the song of many victories.

        "Wherefore sings he his death-song?" was the cry from many voices,--"he is not to die!"

        "Thou art the slave of Opitchi-Manneyto," cried Malatchie to the captive--"thou shalt sing no lie of the victories in the ear of Yemassee. The slave of Opitchi-Manneyto has no triumph"--and the words of the song were effectually drowned, if not silenced, in the tremendous clamor which they raised about

Page 62

him. It was then that Malatchie claimed his victim--the doom had been already given, but the ceremony of expatriation and outlawry was yet to follow, and under the direction of the prophet the various castes and classes of the nation prepared to take a final leave of one who could no longer be known among them. First of all came a band of young marriageable women, who, wheeling in a circle three times about him, sang together a wild apostrophe containing a bitter farewell, which nothing in our language could perfectly embody.

        "Go,--thou hast no wife in Yemassee--thou hast given no lodge to the daughter of the Yemassee--thou hast slain no meat for thy children. Thou hast no name--the women of Yemassee know thee no more. They know thee no more."

        And the final sentence was reverberated from the entire assembly--"They know thee no more--they know thee no more."

        Then came a number of the ancient men--the patriarchs of the nation, who surrounded him in circular mazes three several times, singing as they did so a hymn of like import.

        "Go--thou sittest not in the council of Yemassee--thou shalt not speak wisdom to the boy that comes. Thou hast no name in Yemassee--the fathers of Yemassee, they know thee no more."

        And again the whole assembly cried out, as with one voice--"They know thee no more, they know thee no more."

        These were followed by the young warriors, his old associates, who now, in a solemn band, approached him to go through a like performance. His eyes were shut as they came--his blood was chilled in his heart,

Page 63

and the articulated farewell of their wild chant failed seemingly to reach his ear. Nothing but the last sentence he heard--

                       "Thou that wast a brother,
                       Thou art nothing now--
                       The young warriors of Yemassee,
                       They know thee no more."

        And the crowd cried with them--"they know thee no more."

        "Is no hatchet sharp for Occonestoga?"--moaned forth the suffering savage. But his trials were only then begun. Enoree-Mattee now approached him with the words with which, as the representative of the good Manneyto, he renounced him--with which he denied him access to the Indian heaven, and left him a slave and an outcast, a miserable wanderer, amid the shadows and the swamps, and liable to all the dooms and terrors which come with the service of Opitchi-Manneyto.


                       "Thou wast the child of Manneyto,"

sung the high priest in a solemn chant, and with a deep-toned voice that thrilled strangely amid the silence of the scene.

                       "Thou wast the child of Manneyto,
                       He gave thee arrows and an eye,--
                       Thou wast the strong son of Manneyto,
                       He gave thee feathers and a wing--
                       Thou wast a young brave of Manneyto,
                       He gave thee scalps and a war-song--
                       But he knows thee no more--he knows thee no more."

Page 64

        And the clustering multitude again gave back the last line in wild chorus. The prophet continued his chant:

                       "That Opitchi-Manneyto!--
                       He commands thee for his slave--
                       And the Yemassee must hear him,
                       Hear, and give thee for his slave--
                       They will take from thee the arrow,
                       The broad arrow of thy people--
                       Thou shalt see no blessed valley,
                       Where the plum-groves always bloom--
                       Thou shalt hear no song of valor,
                       From the ancient Yemassee--
                       Father, mother, name, and people,
                       Thou shalt lose with that broad arrow,
                       Thou art lost to the Manneyto--
                       He knows thee no more--he knows thee no more."

        The despair of hell was in the face of the victim, and he howled forth, in a cry of agony, that, for a moment, silenced the wild chorus of the crowd around, the terrible consciousness in his mind of that privation which the doom entailed upon him. Every feature was convulsed with emotion; and the terrors of Opitchi-Manneyto's dominion seemed already in strong exercise upon the muscles of his heart, when Sanutee, the father, silently approached him, and with a pause of a few moments, stood gazing upon the son from whom he was to be separated eternally--whom not even the uniting, the restoring hand of death could possibly restore to him. And he--his once noble son--the pride of his heart, the gleam of his hope, the triumphant warrior, who was even to increase his own glory, and transmit the endearing title of well-beloved, which the

Page 65

Yemassee had given him, to a succeeding generation,--he was to be lost forever! These promises were all blasted, and the father was now present to yield him up eternally--to deny him--to forfeit him, in fearful penalty to the nation whose genius he had wronged, and whose rights he had violated. The old man stood for a moment, rather, we may suppose, for the recovery of his resolution, than with any desire for the contemplation of the pitiable form before him. The pride of the youth came back to him,--the pride of the strong mind in its desolation,--as his eye caught the inflexible gaze of his unswerving father; and he exclaimed bitterly and loud:

        "Wherefore art thou come--thou hast been my foe, not my father--away--I would not behold thee!" and he closed his eyes after the speech, as if to relieve himself from a disgusting presence.

        "Thou hast said well, Occonestoga,--Sanutee is thy foe--he is not thy father. To say this in thy ears has he come. Look on him, Occonestoga,--look up and hear thy doom. The young and the old of the Yemassee--the warrior and the chief,--they have all denied thee--all given thee up to Opitchi-Manneyto! Occonestoga is no name for the Yemassee. The Yemassee gives it to his dog. The prophet of Manneyto has forgotten thee--thou art unknown to those who were thy people. And I, thy father--with this speech, I yield thee to Opitchi-Manneyto! Sanutee is no longer thy father--thy father knows thee no more"--and once more came to the ears of the victim that melancholy chorus of the multitude--"He knows thee no more--he knows thee no more." Sanutee turned quickly away as he had spoken; and, as if he had suffered more than he was willing to

Page 66

show, the old man rapidly hastened to the little mound where he had been previously sitting, his eyes averted from the further spectacle. Occonestoga, goaded to madness by these several incidents, shrieked forth the bitterest execrations, until Enoree-Mattee, preceding Malatchie, again approached. Having given some directions in an undertone to the latter, he retired, leaving the executioner alone with his victim. Malatchie, then, while all was silence in the crowd--a thick silence, in which even respiration seemed to be suspended,--proceeded to his duty; and, lifting the feet of Occonestoga carefully from the ground, he placed a log under them--then--addressing him, as he again bared his knife which he stuck in the tree above his head, he sung--

                       "I take from thee the earth of Yemassee--
                       I take from thee the water of Yemassee--
                       I take from thee the arrow of Yemassee--
                       Thou art no longer a Yemassee--
                       The Yemassee knows thee no more."

        "The Yemassee knows thee no more," cried the multitude, and their universal shout was deafening upon the ear. Occonestoga said no word now--he could offer no resistance to the unnerving hands of Malatchie,--who now bared the arm more completely of its covering. But his limbs were convulsed with the spasms of that dreadful terror of the future which was racking and raging in every pulse of his heart. He had full faith in the superstitions of his people. His terrors acknowledged the full horrors of their doom. A despairing agony which no language could describe, had possession of his soul. Meanwhile, the silence of all indicated the general anxiety; and Malatchie prepared

Page 67

to seize the knife and perform the operation, when a confused murmur arose from the crowd around; the mass gave way and parted, and, rushing wildly into the area, came Matiwan, his mother--the long black hair streaming--the features, an astonishing likeness to his own, convulsed like his; and her action that of one reckless of all things in the way of the forward progress she was making to the person of her child. She cried aloud as she came--with a voice that rang like a sudden death-bell through the ring--

        "Would you keep the mother from her boy, and he to be lost to her forever! Shall she have no parting with the young brave she bore in her bosom? Away, keep me not back--I will look upon, I will love him. He shall have the blessing of Matiwan, though the Yemassee and the Manneyto curse."

        The victim heard, and a momentary renovation of mental life, perhaps a renovation of hope, spoke out in the simple exclamation which fell from his lips--

        "Oh, Matiwan--oh, mother!"

        She rushed toward the spot where she heard his appeal, and thrusting the executioner aside, threw her arms desperately about his neck.

        "Touch him not, Matiwan," was the general cry from the crowd. "Touch him not, Matiwan--Manneyto knows him no more."

        "But Matiwan knows him--the mother knows her child, though the Manneyto denies him. Oh, boy--oh, boy, boy, boy," and she sobbed like an infant on his neck.

        "Thou art come, Matiwan--thou art come, but wherefore?--to curse like the father--to curse like the Manneyto?" mournfully said the captive.

        "No, no, no! Not to curse--not to curse. When

Page 68

did mother curse the child she bore? Not to curse, but to bless thee. To bless thee and forgive."

        "Tear her away," cried the prophet; "let Opitchi-Manneyto have his slave."

        "Tear her away, Malatchie," cried the crowd, now impatient for the execution. Malatchie approached.

        "Not yet--not yet," appealed the woman. "Shall not the mother say farewell to the child she will see no more?" and she waved Malatchie back, and in the next instant drew hastily from the drapery of her dress a small hatchet, which she had there carefully concealed.

        "What wouldst thou do, Matiwan?" asked Occonestoga, as his eye caught the glare of the weapon.

        "Save thee, my boy--save thee for thy mother, Occonestoga--save thee for the happy valley."

        "Wouldst thou slay me, mother--wouldst strike the heart of thy son?" he asked with a something of reluctance to receive death from the hands of a parent.

        "I strike thee but to save thee, my son:--since they cannot take the totem from thee after the life is gone. Turn away from me thy head--let me not look upon thine eyes as I strike, lest my hands grow weak and tremble. Turn thine eyes away--I will not lose thee."

        His eyes closed, and the fatal instrument, lifted above her head, was now visible in the sight of all. The executioner rushed forward to interpose, but he came too late. The tomahawk was driven deep into the skull, and but a single sentence from his lips preceded the final insensibility of the victim.

        "It is good, Matiwan, it is good--thou hast saved me--the death is in my heart." And back he sank

Page 69

as he spoke, while a shriek of mingled joy and horror from the lips of the mother announced the success of her effort to defeat the doom, the most dreadful in the imagination of the Yemassee.

        "He is not lost--he is not lost. They may not take the child from his mother. They may not keep him from the valley of Manneyto. He is free--he is free." And she fell back in a deep swoon in the arms of Sanutee, who by this time had approached. She had defrauded Opitchi-Manneyto of his victim, for they may not remove the badge of the nation from any but the living victim.

Page 70



        IN the autumn of 1752 the "Virginia Company of Comedians" played, at the theatre near the Capitol in Williamsburg, The Merchant of Venice, the first dramatic representation in America.

        It was the period of the culmination of the old social régime.1 A splendid society had burst into flower, and was enjoying itself in the sunshine and under the blue skies of the most beautiful of lands. The chill winds of the Revolution were about to blow, but no one suspected it. Life was easy, and full of laughter--of cordial greetings, grand assemblies, and the zest of existence which springs from the absence of care. Social intercourse was the joy of the epoch, and crowds flocked to the race-course, where the good horses were running for the cup, or to the cock-fight, where the favorite spangles fought to death. The violins seemed to be ever playing--at the Raleigh Tavern, in Williamsburg, where the young Jefferson "danced with Belinda in the Apollo,2" and was happy; or in the great manor-houses of the planters clustering along the Lowland rivers. In town and country life was a pageant. His Excellency, the Royal Governor, went in his coach-and-six

        1 Prevailing system.

        2 The ballroom in the Raleigh Tavern was called the "Apollo," after the Greek god of music.

        From The Virginia Comedians. By permission of D. Appleton and Company.

Page 71

to open the Burgesses. The youths in embroidered waistcoats made love to the little beauties in curls and roses. The "Apollo" rang to music, the theatre on Gloucester Street with thunders of applause; and the houses of the planters were as full of rejoicing. At Christmas--at every season, indeed--the hospitable old "nabob"1 entertained throngs of guests; and, if we choose to go back in fancy, we may see those Virginians of the old age amid their most characteristic surroundings. The broad board is spread with plenty; the wood-fires roar in the wide fireplaces; the canary2 sparkles; the wax-lights flame, lighting up the Louis Quatorze chairs, the old portraits, the curious bric-a-brac, and the rich dresses of fair dames and gallant men. Care stands out of the sunshine of this brilliant throng, who roll in their chariots, dance the minuet, exchange compliments, and snatch the charm of the flying hours with no thought, one would say, but enjoyment, and to make the best of the little life we live below.

        This is what may be seen on the surface of society under the old Virginia régime; but that social organization had reached a stage when the elements of disintegration had already begun their work. A vague unrest pervaded the atmosphere, and gave warning of the approaching cataclysm.3 Class distinctions had been immemorially looked upon as a part of the order of nature; but certain curious and restive minds began to ask if that was just, and to glance sidewise at the wealthy nabob in his fine coach. The English church was the church of the gentry; it was not the church of

        1 A man of great wealth; a prince of the East.

        2 Wine from the Canary Islands.

        3 Catastrophe--in this case, the Revolutionary War.

Page 72

the people. The "New Light" ministers began to talk about the "sinegogues of Satan," and to tell the multitudes, who thronged to hear them preach in the fields, that the reverend parsons were no better than they should be. New ideas were on the march. The spirit of change was under the calm surface. The political agitation soon to burst forth was preceded by the social. The hour was near when the merry violins were to stop playing; when the "Apollo room" at the Raleigh would become the meeting-place of political conspirators; and the Virginians, waking from their dreams of enjoyment, were to be confronted by the hard realities of the new time.

        Such was the period selected by the youthful writer of this volume for the picture he wished to attempt of that former society. When the story opens, the worthy "Virginia Comedians" have prospered. They have gone away, but have returned year after year, and are still playing at what is now the "Old Theatre near the Capitol." The winter still attracts the pleasure-loving Virginians to the vice-regal1 city, and throughout the theatrical season, beginning in the autumn, the playhouse is thronged with powdered planters, beautiful dames, honest yeomen,2 and indented3 servants. More than ever the spirit of unrest--social, political, and religious--pervades all these classes. Revolution is already in the air, and the radical sentiments of young Waters and the Man in the Red Cloak, in this volume, meet with thousands of sympathizers. On the surface the era is tranquil, but beneath is the volcano. Passion

        1 Displaying the trappings of royalty.

        2 Men of the poorer classes.

        3 Bound out; apprenticed by an agreement. In Virginia indented servants were always white persons.

Page 73

smoulders under the laughter; the home-spun coat jostles the embroidered costume; men are demanding social equality, as they will soon demand a republic; and the splendid old régime is about to vanish in the storms of the Revolution.

        The "Old Theatre near the Capitol," discoursed of in the manifesto issued by Mr. Manager Hallam, was so far old, that the walls were well browned by time, and the shutters to the windows of a pleasant neutral tint between rust and dust color. The building had no doubt been used for the present purpose in bygone times, before the days of the Virginia Gazette, which is our authority for many of the facts here stated, and in relation to the "Virginia Company of Comedians"--but of the former companies of "players," as my lord Hamlet calls them, and their successes or misfortunes, printed words tell us nothing, as far as the researches of the present chronicle extend. That there had been such companies before, however, we repeat, there is some reason to believe; else why that addition "old" applied to "the Theatre near the Capitol"? The question is submitted to the future social historians of the Old Dominion.

        Within, the play-house presented a somewhat more attractive appearance. There were "box," "pit," and "gallery," as in our own day; and the relative prices were arranged in much the same manner. The common mortals--gentlemen and ladies--were forced to occupy the boxes raised slightly above the level of the stage, and hemmed in by velvet-cushioned railings,--in front, a flower-decorated panel, extending all around the house,--and for this position were moreover compelled to a pay an admission fee of seven shillings and

Page 74

sixpence. The demigods, so to speak, occupied a more eligible position in the "pit," from which they could procure a highly excellent view of the actors' feet and ankles, just on a level with their noses: to conciliate the demigods, this superior advantage had been offered, and the price for them was, further still, reduced to five shillings. But "the gods" in truth were the real favorites of the manager. To attract them, he arranged the high upper "gallery"--and left it untouched, unincumbered by railing or velvet cushions, or any other device: all was free space, and liberal as air: there were no troublesome seats for "the gods," and three shillings and ninepence was all that the managers would demand. The honor of their presence was enough.

        From the boxes a stairway led down to the stage, and some rude scenes, visible at the edges of the green curtain, completed the outline.

        When Mr. Lee and his daughters entered the box which had been reserved for them, next to the stage, the house was nearly full, and the neatness of the edifice was lost sight of in the sea of brilliant ladies' faces, and strong forms of cavaliers, which extended like a line of glistening foam around the semi-circle of the boxes. The pit was occupied by well-dressed men of the lower class, as the times had it, and from the gallery proceeded hoarse murmurs and the unforgotten slang of London.

        Many smiles and bows were interchanged between the parties in the different boxes; and the young gallants, following the fashion of the day, gathered at each end of the stage, and often walked across, to exchange some polite speech with the smiling dames in the boxes nearest.

        A little bell rang, and the orchestra, represented by three or four foreign-looking gentlemen, bearded and mustached, entered with trumpet and violin. The

Page 75

trumpets made the roof shake, indifferently, in honor of the Prince of Morocco,1 or King Richard,1 or any other worthy whose entrance was marked in the playbook "with a flourish." But before the orchestra ravished the ears of everyone, the manager came forward, in the costume of Bassanio,1 and made a low bow. Mr. Hallam was a fat little man, of fifty or fifty-five, with a rubicund and somewhat sensual face, and he expressed extraordinary delight at meeting so many of the "noble aristocracy of the great and noble colony of Virginia," assembled to witness his very humble representation. It would be the chief end and sole ambition of his life, he said, to please the gentry, who so kindly patronized their servants--himself and his associates--and then the smiling worthy concluded by bowing lower than before. Much applause from the pit and gallery, and murmurs of approbation from the well-bred boxes, greeted his address, and the orchestra having struck up, the curtain slowly rolled aloft. The young gallants scattered to the corners of the stage, seating themselves on stools, or chairs, or standing, and The Merchant of Venice commenced. Bassanio, having assumed a dignified and lofty port, criticised Gratiano with courteous and lordly wit: his friend Antonio offered him his fortune with grand magnanimity, in a loud singing voice, worthy the utmost commendation, and the first act proceeded on its way in triumph.

        The first act ended without the appearance of Portia or Nerissa; the scene in which they hold their confidential--though public and explanatory--interview having been omitted. The audience seemed to be much pleased, and the actors received a grateful guerdon of applause.

        1 Characters in the plays of Shakespeare.

Page 76

        In the box opposite that one occupied by Mr. Lee and his daughters, sat the squire, Will and Kate, and--1proh pudor!--no less a personage than Parson Tag. Let us not criticise the worthy parson's appearance in a play-house, however. Those times were not our times, nor those men, the men of to-day. If parsons drank deep then, and hunted Reynard, and not unwillingly took a hand at cards,--and they did all this and more--why should they not also go and see "the good old English drama"? Certain are we, that when the squire proposed to the parson a visit to town, for the purpose of witnessing the performance of The Merchant of Venice,--that worthy made no sort of objection: though it must be said, in justice to him, also, that he expressed some fears of finding his time thrown away. He now sat on the front seat beside the squire, with solemn gravity, and rubicund nose, surveying from his respectable position the agitated pit. Besides these, Will and Kate were exchanging criticisms on the splendid novelty they had just witnessed. They remembered it for years afterward--this, their beautiful, glittering, glorious, magical first play!

        Mr. Effingham [previously described as the most elegant fop present] drew forth his bill and saw opposite the name of Portia, Miss Beatrice Hallam. He sat down in the corner of the stage upon a wicker chair and scanned Portia critically. Her costume was faultless. It consisted of a gown and underskirt of fawn-colored silk, trimmed with silver, and a single band of gold encircled each wrist, clearly relieved against the white, finely rounded arm. Her hair, which was a beautiful chestnut, had been carried back from the temples and powdered after the fashion of the time, and

        1 For shame.

Page 77

around her beautiful, swan-like neck, the young woman wore a necklace of pearls of rare brilliance. Thus the costume of the character defied criticism, and Mr. Effingham passed on to the face and figure. The countenance of Beatrice Hallam wore a simple, yet firm and collected expression, and her figure had an indefinable grace and beauty. Every movement which she made might have suited a royal palace, and in her large brilliant eyes Mr. Effingham in vain sought the least trace of confusion. She surveyed the audience, while the Prince of Morocco was uttering his speech, with perfect simplicity, but her eyes not for a single moment rested on the young men collected at the corners of the stage. For her they seemed to have no existence, and she turned to the Prince again. That gentleman having uttered his prescribed number of lines, Portia graciously advanced toward him, and addressed him. Her carelessness was gone; she no longer displayed either indifference or coldness. She was the actress with her rôle to sustain. She commenced in a voice of noble and queen-like courtesy, a voice of pure music, and clear utterance, so to speak, such as few lips possess the power of giving forth. Every word rang and told; there was no hurry, no slurring, no hesitation; it was not an actress delivering a set speech, but the noble Portia doing the honors of her beautiful palace of Belmont. The scene ended with great applause--the young woman had evidently produced a most favorable impression upon the audience. But she seemed wholly unconscious of this compliment, and made her exit quite calmly.

        A buzz ran through the theatre: the audience were discussing the merits of Portia. On the stage, too, she was the subject of many comments; and this continued

Page 78

until Lancelot made his appearance and went through his speech. Then Portia's reappearance with the Prince was greeted with great applause.

        What was going on in Mr. Effingham's mind, and why did he lose some of his careless listlessness when, clasping her beautiful hands, the lovely girl, raising her eyes to heaven, like one of the old Italian pictures, uttered that sublime discourse on the "quality of mercy"? and how did it happen that, when she sobbed, almost, in that tender, magical voice:

                       "But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
                       It is enthroned in the hearts of kings--
                       It is an attribute to God himself!"--

how did it chance that Mr. Effingham led the enthusiastic applause, and absolutely rose erect in the excess of his enthusiasm?

        As she passed him in going out, he made her a low bow, and said, "Pardon me! you are a great actress!" A single glance, and a calm movement of the head, were the only reply to his speech; and with this Mr. Effingham was compelled to remain content.

        The play proceeded, and ended amid universal applause. Mr. Hallam led out Portia, in response to uproarious calls, and thanked the audience for their kindness to his daughter. Beatrice received all the applause with her habitual calmness; and inclining her head slightly, disappeared.

        And so the audience separated, rolling, well pleased, to their homes.

Page 79



        GALBRAITH ROBINSON was a man of altogether rougher mould. Nature had carved out, in his person, an athlete whom the sculptors might have studied to improve the Hercules. Every lineament of his body indicated strength. His stature was rather above six feet; his chest broad; his limbs sinewy, and remarkable for their symmetry. There seemed to be no useless flesh upon his frame to soften the prominent surface of his muscles; and his ample thigh, as he sat upon horseback, showed the working of its texture at each step, as if part of the animal on which he rode. His was one of

        1 The circumstances under which Kennedy met the principal character of the story are graphically told in his introduction to the novel. On a visit to the western section of South Carolina he spent the night at a place to which Horse-Shoe Robinson, then an old man, was summoned to give relief to a boy who had met with a serious accident.

        "What a man I saw! With near seventy years upon his poll, time seemed to have broken its billows over his front only as the ocean breaks over a rock. There he stood--tall, broad, brawny, and erect. The sharp light gilded his massive frame and weatherbeaten face with a pictorial effect that would have rejoiced an artist."

        On that night the old gentleman told him the thrilling story of his escape from Charleston and of his capture of five Scotchmen--incidents that are afterward developed in the novel. It was long after midnight before the party broke up; and when the novelist got to bed it was to dream of Horse-Shoe and his adventures. This was the beginning of what Kennedy afterward, with the aid of historical research, elaborated in his story.

        The story opens with Robinson and Captain Butler making their way from the country around Charlottesville to join the ranks of the partisans. Horse-Shoe relates to his companions the story of his perilous escape from the Tories in Charleston. The mountaineer has come to guide Butler into the mountains of western North Carolina. Soon after they reach their destination they are both captured. Horse-Shoe escapes from his captors and tries in every way to rescue his comrade. With the aid of a mountain girl and her lover he accomplishes the feat, only, however, to see him captured again. The story then centres about the numerous frays between the Tories and Whigs in the mountain sections--the hairbreadth escapes, the long midnight rides, fierce warfare between members of the same family even. Led by Sevier, Campbell, and Shelby at King's Mountain, the Whig partisans win a glorious victory. The best characterization of the hero of the story is that by the author himself, in a passage which may serve as an introduction to the story here related.

        From Horse-Shoe Robinson: A Tale of the Tory Ascendency in South Carolina. By permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Page 80

those iron forms that might be imagined almost bulletproof. With all these advantages of person, there was a radiant, broad, good nature upon his face; and the glance of a large, clear, blue eye told of arch thoughts, and of shrewd, homely wisdom. A ruddy complexion accorded well with his sprightly but massive features, of which the prevailing expression was such as silently invited friendship and trust. If to these traits be added an abundant shock of yellow, curly hair, terminating in a luxuriant queue, confined by a narrow strand of leather cord, my reader will have a tolerably correct idea of the person I wish to describe.

        Robinson had been a blacksmith at the breaking out of the Revolution, and, in truth, could hardly be said to have yet abandoned the craft; although of late, he had been engaged in a course of life which had little to do with the anvil, except in that metaphorical sense of hammering out and shaping the rough, iron independence

Page 81

of his country. He was the owner of a little farm in the Waxhaw settlement, on the Catawba, and having pitched his habitation upon a promontory, around whose base the Waxhaw creek swept with a regular but narrow circuit, this locality, taken in connection with his calling, gave rise to a common prefix to his name throughout the neighborhood, and he was therefore almost exclusively distinguished by the sobriquet1 of Horse-Shoe Robinson. This familar appellative had followed him into the army.

        The age of Horse-Shoe was some seven or eight years in advance of that of Butler--a circumstance which the worthy senior did not fail to use with some authority in their personal intercourse, holding himself, on that account, to be like Cassius, an elder, if not a better soldier. On the present occasion, his dress was of the plainest and most rustic description, a spherical crowned hat with a broad brim, a coarse gray coat of mixed cotton and wool, dark linsey-woolsey trousers adhering closely to his legs, hobnailed shoes, and a red cotton handkerchief tied carelessly round his neck with a knot upon his bosom. This costume, and a long rifle thrown into the angle of the right arm, with the breech resting on his pommel, and a pouch of deer-skin, with a powder-horn attached to it, suspended on his right side, might have warranted a spectator in taking Robinson for a woodsman, or hunter from the neighboring mountains. . . .

        [Mistress Ramsay speaking to Horse-Shoe Robinson]:

        "Who should come in this morning, just after my husband had cleverly got away on his horse, but a young cock-a-whoop2 ensign, that belongs to Ninety-Six,

        1 A nickname.

        2 Boastful.

Page 82

and four great Scotchmen with him, all in red coats; they had been out thieving, I warrant, and were now going home again. And who but they! Here they were, swaggering all about my house--and calling for this--and calling for that--as if they owned the fee-simple of everything on the plantation. And it made my blood rise, Mr. Horse-Shoe, to see them run out into the yard, and catch up my chickens and ducks, and kill as many as they could string about them--and I not daring to say a word; though I did give them a piece of my mind too."

        "Who is at home with you?" inquired the sergeant eagerly.

        "Nobody but my youngest son, Andrew," answered the dame. "And then, the filthy toping rioters--" she continued, exalting her voice.

        "What arms have you in the house?" asked Robinson, without heeding the dame's rising anger.

        "We have a rifle, and a horseman's pistol that belongs to John. They must call for drink, too, and turn my house, of a Sunday morning, into a tavern."

        "They took the route towards Ninety-Six, you said, Mistress Ramsay?"

        "Yes,--they went straight forward upon the road. But look you, Mr. Horse-Shoe, you're not thinking of going after them?"

        "Isn't there an old field, about a mile from this, on that road?" inquired the sergeant, still intent upon his own thoughts.

        "There is," replied the dame; "with the old schoolhouse upon it."

        "A lop-sided, rickety log-cabin in the middle of the field. Am I right, good woman?"


Page 83

        "And nobody lives in it? It has no door to it?"

        "There ha'n't been anybody in it for these seven years."

        "I know the place very well," said the sergeant, very thoughtfully; "there is woods just on this side of it."

        "That's true," replied the dame; "but what is it you are thinking about, Mr. Robinson?"

        "How long before this rain began was it that they quitted this house?"

        "Not above fifteen minutes."

        "Mistress Ramsay, bring me the rifle and pistol both--and the powder-horn and bullets."

        "As you say, Mr. Horse-Shoe," answered the dame, as she turned round to leave the room; "but I am sure I can't suspicion what you mean to do."

        In a few moments the woman returned with the weapons, and gave them to the sergeant.

        "Where is Andy?" asked Horse-Shoe.

        The hostess went to the door and called her son, and, almost immediately afterward, a sturdy boy of about twelve or fourteen years of age entered the apartment, his clothes dripping with rain. He modestly and shyly seated himself on a chair near the door, with his soaked hat flapping down over a face full of freckles and not less rife with the expression of an open, dauntless hardihood of character.

        "How would you like a scrummage, Andy, with them Scotchmen that stole your mother's chickens this morning?" asked Horse-Shoe.

        "I'm agreed," replied the boy, "if you will tell me what to do."

        Horse-Shoe now loaded the fire-arms, and having slung the pouch across his body, he put the pistol into the hands of the boy; then shouldering his rifle, he and

Page 84

his young ally left the room. Even on this occasion, serious as it might be deemed, the sergeant did not depart without giving some manifestation of that light-heartedness which no difficulties ever seemed to have the power to conquer. He thrust his head back into the room, after he had crossed the threshold, and said with an encouraging laugh, "Andy and me will teach them, Mistress Ramsay, Pat's point of war--we will surround the ragamuffins."

        "Now, Andy, my lad," said Horse-Shoe, after he had mounted Captain Peter, "you must get up behind me." . . .

        By the time that his instructions were fully impressed upon the boy, our adventurous forlorn hope, as it may fitly be called, had arrived at the place which Horse-Shoe Robinson had designated for the commencement of active operations. They had a clear view of the old field, and it afforded them a strong assurance that the enemy were exactly where they wished him to be, when they discovered smoke rising from the chimney of the hovel. Andrew was soon posted behind a tree, and Robinson only tarried a moment to make the boy repeat the signals agreed upon, in order to ascertain that he had them correctly in his memory. But satisfied from this experiment that the intelligence of his young companion might be depended upon, he galloped across the intervening space, and in a few seconds, abruptly reined up his steed in the very doorway of the hut. The party within was gathered around a fire at the further end, and, in the corner near the door, were four muskets thrown together against the wall. To spring from his saddle and thrust himself one pace within the door, was a movement which the sergeant executed in an instant, shouting at the same time--

Page 85

        "Halt! File off right and left to both sides of the house, and wait orders. I demand the surrender of all here," he said, as he planted himself between the party and their weapons. "I will shoot down the first man who budges a foot."

        "Leap to your arms," cried the young officer who commanded the little party inside of the house. "Why do you stand?"

        "I don't want to do you or your men any harm, young man," said Robinson, as he brought his rifle to a level, "but, by my father's son, I will not leave one of you to be put upon a muster-roll if you raise a hand at this moment."

        Both parties now stood, for a brief space, eyeing each other in fearful suspense, during which there was an expression of doubt and irresolution visible on the countenances of the soldiers, as they surveyed the broad proportions, and met the stern glance of the sergeant, whilst the delay also began to raise an apprehension in the mind of Robinson that his stratagem would be discovered.

        "Shall I let loose upon them, Captain?" said Andrew Ramsay, now appearing most unexpectedly to Robinson, at the door of the hut. "Come on, boys!" he shouted, as he turned his face toward the field.

        "Keep them outside the door--stand fast!" cried the doughty sergeant, with admirable promptitude, in the new and sudden posture of affairs caused by this opportune appearance of the boy. "Sir, you see that it's not worth fighting five to one; and I should be sorry to be the death of any of your brave fellows; so, take my advice, and surrender to the Continental Congress and this scrap of its army which I command."

        During this appeal the sergeant was ably seconded

Page 86

by the lad outside, who was calling out, first on one name, and then on another, as if in the presence of a troop. The device succeeded, and the officer within, believing the forbearance of Robinson to be real, at length said:--

        "Lower your rifle, sir. In the presence of a superior force, taken by surprise, and without arms, it is my duty to save bloodshed. With the promise of fair usage, and the rights of prisoners of war, I surrender this little foraging party under my command."

        "I'll make the terms agreeable," replied the sergeant. "Never doubt me, sir. Right hand file, advance, and receive the arms of the prisoners!"

        "I'm here, Captain," said Andrew, in a conceited tone, as if it were a mere occasion for merriment; and the lad quickly entered the house and secured the weapons, retreating with them some pace from the door.

        "Now, sir," said Horse-Shoe to the ensign, "your sword, and whatever else you mought have about you of the ammunitions of war!"

        The officer delivered his sword and a pair of pocket pistols.

        As Horse-Shoe received these tokens of victory, he asked, with a lambent smile, and what he intended to be an elegant and condescending composure, "Your name, sir, if I mought take the freedom?"

        "Ensign St. Jermyn, of his Majesty's seventy-first regiment of light infantry."

        "Ensign, your servant," added Horse-Shoe, still preserving this unusual exhibition of politeness. "You have defended your post like an old sodger, although you ha'n't much beard on your chin; but seeing you have given up, you shall be treated like a man who has

Page 87

done his duty. You will walk out now, and form yourselves in line at the door. I'll engage my men shall do you no harm; they are of a marciful breed."

        When the little squad of prisoners submitted to this command, and came to the door, they were stricken with equal astonishment and mortification to find, in the place of the detachment of cavalry which they expected to see, nothing but a man, a boy, and a horse. Their first emotions were expressed in curses, which were even succeeded by laughter from one or two of the number. There seemed to be a disposition on the part of some to resist the authority that now controlled them; and sundry glances were exchanged, which indicated a purpose to turn upon their captors. The sergeant no sooner perceived this, than he halted, raised his rifle to his breast, and at the same instant, gave Andrew Ramsay an order to retire a few paces, and to fire one of the captured pieces at the first man who opened his lips.

        "By my hand," he said, "if I find any trouble in taking you, all five, safe away from this house, I will thin your numbers with your own muskets! And that's as good as if I had sworn it."

        "You have my word, sir," said the Ensign. "Lead on."

        "By your leave, my pretty gentlemen, you will lead and I'll follow," replied Horse-Shoe. "It may be a new piece of drill to you; but the custom is to give the prisoners the post of honor."

        "As you please, sir," answered the ensign. "Where do you take us to?"

        "You will march back by the road you came," said the sergeant.

        Finding the conqueror determined to execute summary martial law upon the first who should mutiny,

Page 88

the prisoners submitted, and marched in double file from the hut back toward Ramsay's--Horse-Shoe, with Captain Peter's bridle dangling over his arm, and his gallant young auxiliary Andrew, laden with double the burden of Robinson Crusoe (having all the fire-arms packed upon his shoulders), bringing up the rear. In this order victors and vanquished returned to David Ramsay's.

        "Well, I have brought you your ducks and chickens back, mistress," said the sergeant, as he halted the prisoners at the door; "and what's more, I have brought home a young soldier that is worth his weight in gold."

        "Heaven bless my child! my brave boy!" cried the mother, seizing the lad in her arms, and unheeding anything else in the present perturbation of her feelings. "I feared ill would come of it; but Heaven has preserved him. Did he behave handsomely, Mr. Robinson? But I am sure he did."

        "A little more venturesome, ma'am, than I wanted him to be," replied Horse-Shoe; "but he did excellent service. These are his prisoners, Mistress Ramsay; I should never have got them if it hadn't been for Andy. In these drumming and fifing times the babies suck in quarrel with their mother's milk. Show me another boy in America that's made more prisoners than there was men to fight with, that's all!"

Page 89



        I THINK I see them harnessing their horses, and attaching them to their wagons, which are already filled with bedding, provisions, and the younger children; while on their outside are fastened spinning-wheels and looms, and a bucket filled with tar and tallow swings betwixt the hind wheels. Several axes are secured to the bolster, and the feeding-trough of the horses contains pots, kettles, and pans. The servant now becomes a driver, riding the near saddled horse, the wife is mounted on another, the worthy husband shoulders his gun, and his sons, clad in plain, substantial homespun, drive the cattle ahead, and lead the procession, followed by the hounds and other dogs. Their day's journey is short and not agreeable. The cattle, stubborn or wild, frequently leave the road for the woods, giving the travellers much trouble; the harness of the horses here and there gives way, and immediate repair is needed. A basket which has accidentally dropped must be gone after, for nothing that they have can be spared. The roads are bad, and now and then all hands are called to push on the wagon or prevent it from upsetting. Yet by sunset they have proceeded perhaps twenty miles.

        1 The scene of these incidents related by Audubon was the swamps of Louisiana, in his lifetime very sparsely settled.

        From Stories of a Naturalist. By permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Page 90

Fatigued, all assemble around the fire, which has been lighted; supper is prepared, and a camp being run up, there they pass the night. Days and weeks pass before they gain the end of the journey. They have crossed both the Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama. They have been travelling from the beginning of May to that of September, and with heavy hearts they traverse the neighborhood of the Mississippi. But now arrived on the banks of the broad stream, they gaze in amazement on the dark deep woods around them. Boats of various kinds they see gliding downward with the current, while others slowly ascend against it. A few inquiries are made at the nearest dwelling, and assisted by the inhabitants with their boats and canoes, they at once cross the river, and select their place of habitation. The exhalations rising from the swamps and morasses around them have a powerful effect on these new settlers, but all are intent on preparing for the winter. A small patch of ground is cleared by the axe and fire, a temporary cabin is erected; to each of the cattle is attached a bell before it is let loose into the neighboring canebrake, and the horses remain about the house, where they find sufficient food at that season. The first trading boat that stops at their landing enables them to provide themselves with some flour, fish-hooks, and ammunition, as well as other commodities. The looms are mounted, the spinning-wheels soon furnish yarn, and in a few weeks the family throw off their ragged clothes, and array themselves in suits adapted to the climate.

        The father and sons meanwhile have sown turnips and other vegetables; and from some Kentucky flatboat a supply of live poultry has been purchased. October tinges the leaves of the forest; the morning dews

Page 91

are heavy; the days hot and the nights chill, and the unacclimatized family in a few days are attacked with ague. The lingering disease almost prostrates their whole faculties. Fortunately the unhealthy season soon passes over, and the hoar-frosts make their appearance. Gradually each individual recovers strength. The largest ash trees are felled, their trunks are cut, split, and corded in front of the building; a large fire is lighted at night on the edge of the water, and soon a steamer calls to purchase the wood, and thus add to their comforts during the winter. This first fruit of their industry imparts new courage to them; their exertions multiply, and when spring returns the place has a cheerful look. Venison, bear's flesh, and turkeys, ducks, and geese, with now and then some fish, have served to keep up their strength, and now their enlarged field is planted with corn, potatoes, and pumpkins. Their stock of cattle, too, has augmented; the steamer which now stops there, as if by preference, buys a calf or pig together with their wood. Their store of provisions is renewed, and brighter rays of hope enliven their spirits.

        The sons discover a swamp covered with excellent timber, and as they have seen many great rafts of sawlogs, bound for the saw-mills of New Orleans, floating past their dwelling, they resolve to try the success of a little enterprise. A few cross-saws are purchased, and some broad-wheeled "carry-logs" are made by themselves. Log after log is hauled to the bank of the river, and in a short time their first raft is made on the shore, and loaded with cordwood. When the next freshet sets it afloat it is secured by long grapevines or cables, until, the proper time being arrived, the husband and sons embark on it and float down the mighty stream. After encountering many difficulties, they arrive in safety at

Page 92

New Orleans, where they dispose of their stock, the money obtained for which may be said to be all profit; supply themselves with such articles as may add to their convenience or comfort, and with light hearts procure a passage on the upper deck of a steamer at a very cheap rate, on account of the benefit of their labors in taking in wood or otherwise. Every successive year has increased their savings. They now possess a large stock of horses, cows, and hogs, with abundance of provisions, and domestic comforts of every kind. The daughters have been married to the sons of neighboring squatters, and have gained sisters to themselves by the marriage of their brothers.

Page 93



        THE condition of a man lost in the woods is one of the most perplexing that could be imagined by a person who has not himself been in a like predicament. Every object he sees he at first thinks he recognizes; and while his whole mind is bent on searching for more that may gradually lead to his extrication, he goes on committing greater errors the farther he proceeds. This was the case with the "live oaker." The sun was now setting with a fiery aspect, and by degrees it sunk in its full circular form, as if giving warning of a sultry to-morrow. Myriads of insects, delighted at its departure, now filled the air on buzzing wings. Each piping frog arose from the muddy pool in which it had concealed itself, the squirrel retired to its hole, the crow to its roost, and, far above, the harsh croaking voice of the heron announced that, full of anxiety, it was wending its way to the miry interior of some distant swamp. Now the woods began to resound to the shrill cries of the owl, and the breeze, as it swept among the columnar stems of the forest trees, was laden with heavy and chilling dew. Alas! no moon with her silvery light shone on the dreary scene, and the lost one, wearied and vexed, laid himself down on the damp ground. Prayer is always consolatory to man in every difficulty and danger, and the woodsman fervently prayed to his Maker, wished

        From Stories of a Naturalist. By permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.

Page 94

his family a happier night than it was his lot to experience, and with a feverish anxiety waited the return of the day. You may imagine the length of that cold, dull, moonless night. With the dawn of day came the usual fogs of those latitudes. The poor man started on his feet, and with a sorrowful heart pursued a course which he thought might lead him to some familiar object, although, indeed, he scarcely knew what he was doing. No longer had he the trace of a track to guide him, and yet, as the sun rose, he calculated the many hours of daylight he had before him, and the farther he went continued to walk the faster. But vain were all his hopes: that day was spent in fruitless efforts to regain the path that led to his home, and when night again approached, the terror that had been gradually spreading over his mind--together with the nervous debility induced by fatigue, anxiety, and hunger--rendered him almost frantic. He told me that at this moment he beat his breast, tore his hair, and, had it not been for the piety with which his parents had in early life imbued his mind, and which had become habitual, would have cursed his existence.

        Famished as he now was, he laid himself on the ground and fed on the weeds and grass that grew around him. That night was spent in the greatest agony and horror. "I knew my situation," he said to me; "I was fully aware that, unless Almighty God came to my assistance, I must perish in those uninhabited woods. I knew that I had walked more than fifty miles, although I had not met with a brook from which I could quench my thirst, or even allay the burning heat of my parched lips and bloodshot eyes.

        "I knew that if I could not meet with some stream I must die, for my axe was my only weapon; and although

Page 95

deer and bears now and then started within a few yards or even feet of me, not one of them could I kill; and although I was in the midst of abundance, not a mouthful did I expect to procure, to satisfy the cravings of my empty stomach. Sir, may God preserve you from ever feeling as I did the whole of that day!" For several days after no one can imagine the condition in which he was, for when he related to me this painful adventure, he assured me he had lost all recollection of what had happened. "God," he continued, "must have taken pity on me, one day, for as I ran wildly through those dreadful pine barrens I met a tortoise. I gazed upon it with delight and amazement, and although I knew that, were I to follow it undisturbed it must lead me to water, my hunger and thirst would not allow me to refrain from satisfying both by eating its flesh and drinking its blood. With one stroke of my axe the beast was cut in two; in a few moments I despatched all but the shell. Oh, sir, how much I thanked God, whose kindness had put the tortoise in my way! I felt greatly renewed. I sat down at the foot of a pine, gazed on the heavens, thought of my poor wife and children, and again and again thanked God for my life, for now I felt less distracted in mind, and more assured that before long I must recover my way, and get back to my home." The lost one remained and passed the night at the foot of the same tree under which his repast had been made. Refreshed by a sound sleep, he started at dawn to resume his weary march. The sun rose bright, and he followed the direction of the shadows. Still the dreariness of the woods was the same, and he was on the point of giving up in despair, when he observed a raccoon lying squatted in the grass. Raising his axe, he drove it with such violence through the helpless

Page 96

animal, that it expired without a struggle. What he had done with the turtle he now did with the raccoon, the greater part of which he actually devoured at one meal. With more comfortable feelings he then resumed his wanderings--his journey I cannot say--for although in the possession of all his faculties, and in broad daylight, he was worse off than a lame man groping his way in the dark out of a dungeon, of which he knew not where the door stood. Days one after another passed--nay, weeks in succession. He fed now on cabbage trees, then on frogs and snakes. All that fell in his way was welcome and savory. Yet he became daily more emaciated, and at length he could scarcely crawl; forty days had elapsed by his own reckoning, when he at last reached the banks of the river. His clothes in tatters, his once bright axe dimmed with rust, his face begrimed with beard, his hair matted, and his feeble frame little better than a skeleton covered with parchment, there he laid himself down to die. Amid the perturbed dreams of his fevered fancy, he thought he heard the noise of oars far away on the silent river. He listened, but the sounds died away on his ear. It was indeed a dream, the last glimmer of expiring hope, and now the light of life was about to be quenched forever. But again the sound of oars woke his lethargy. He listened so eagerly that the hum of a fly could not have escaped his ear. They were indeed the measured beat of oars; and now, joy to the forlorn soul! the sound of human voices thrilled his heart, and awoke the tumultuous pulses of returning hope. On his knees did God see that poor man, by the broad still stream, that glittered in the sunbeams, and human eyes saw him too, for round the headland covered with tangled brushwood boldly advances the little boat, propelled by its lusty rowers. The lost

Page 97

one raises his feeble voice on high; it is a shrill, loud scream of joy and fear. The rowers pause, and look around. Another, but feebler scream, and they observe him. It comes--his heart flutters, his sight is dimmed, his brain reels, he gasps for breath! It comes--it has run upon the beach, and the lost one is found.

        This is no tale of fiction, but the relation of an actual occurrence, which might be embellished no doubt, but which is better in the plain garb of truth. The notes by which I recorded it were written in the cabin of the once lost "live oaker" about four years after the painful incident occurred. His amiable wife and loving children were present at the recital, and never shall I forget the tears that flowed from them as they listened to it, albeit it had long been more familiar to them than a tale twice told. It only remains for me to say that the distance between the cabin and the live oak hummock to which the woodsman was bound scarcely exceeded eight miles, while the part of the river at which he was found was thirty-eight miles from his house. Calculating his daily wanderings at ten miles, we may believe that they amounted in all to four hundred. He must therefore have rambled in a circuitous direction, which people generally do in such circumstances. Nothing but the great strength of his constitution and the merciful aid of his Maker could have supported him for so long a time.

Page 98



        I GATHERED my corn, and then set out for my fall's hunt. This was in the last of October, 1822. I found bear very plenty, and, indeed, all sorts of game, and wild varments, except buffalo. There was none of them. I hunted on till Christmas, having supplied my family very well all along with wild meat, at which time my powder gave out; and I had none either to fire Christmas guns, which is very common in that country, or to hunt with. I had a brother-in-law who had now moved out and settled about six miles west of me, on the opposite side of Rutherford's fork of the Obion River, and he had brought me a keg of powder, but I had never gotten it home. There had just been another of Noah's freshets, and the low grounds were flooded all over with water. I know'd the stream was at least a mile wide which I would have to cross, as the water was from hill to hill, and yet I determined to go on over in some way or other, so as to get my powder. I told this to my wife, and she immediately opposed it with all her might. I still insisted, telling her we had no powder for Christmas, and worse than all, we were out of meat. She said we had as well starve as for me to freeze to death

        1 Although Crockett knew little of the grammar and orthography of the language, his stories are racy and amusing. He, better than any other, gives adequate expression to the life and times of the real pioneer in the South.

        From The Life of David Crockett, by Himself.

Page 99

or to get drowned, and one or the other was certain if I attempted to go.

        But I didn't believe the half of this; and so I took my woolen wrappers, and a pair of moccasins, and put them on and tied up some dry clothes, and a pair of shoes and stockings, and started. But I didn't before know how much anybody could suffer and not die. This, and some of my other experiments in water, learned me something about it, and I therefore relate them.

        The snow was about four inches deep when I started, and when I got to the water, which was only about a quarter of a mile off, it looked like an ocean. I put in, and waded on till I come to the channel, where I crossed that on a high log. I then took water again, having my gun and all my hunting tools along, and waded till I came to a deep slough, that was wider than the river itself. I had crossed it often on a log; but behold, when I got there, no log was to be seen. I know'd of an island in the slough, and a sapling stood on it close to the side of that log, which was now entirely under water. I knowed further, that the water was about eight or ten feet deep under the log, and I judged it to be about three feet deep over it. After studying a little what I should do, I determined to cut a forked sapling, which stood near me, so as to lodge it against the one that stood on the island, in which I succeeded very well. I then cut me a pole, and then crawled along on my sapling till I got to the one it was lodged against, which was about six feet above the water. I then felt about with my pole till I found the log, which was just about as deep under the water as I had judged. I then crawled back and got my gun, which I had left at the stump of the sapling I had cut, and again made my way to the place of lodgment, and then climbed down the other sapling so as to get

Page 100

on the log. I then felt my way along with my feet, in the water about waist deep, but it was a mighty ticklish business. However, I got over, and by this time I had very little feeling in my feet and legs, as I had been all the time in the water, except what time I was crossing the high log over the river, and climbing my lodged sapling.

        I went but a short distance before I came to another slough, over which there was a log, but it was floating on the water. I thought I could walk it, and so I mounted on it; but when I had got about the middle of the deep water, somehow or somehow else, it turned over, and I went up to my head. I waded out of this deep water, and went ahead till I came to the highland, where I stopp'd to pull off my wet clothes, and put on the others, which I had held up with my gun, above the water, when I fell in. I got them on, but my flesh had no feeling in it, I was so cold. I tied up the wet ones, and hung them up in a bush. I now thought I would run, so as to warm myself a little, but I couldn't raise a trot for some time; indeed, I couldn't step more than half the length of my foot. After a while I got better, and went on five miles to the house of my brother-in-law, having not even smelt fire from the time I started. I got there late in the evening, and he was much astonished at seeing me at such a time. I stayed all night, and the next morning was most piercing cold, and so they persuaded me not to go home that day. I agreed, and turned out and killed him two deer; but the weather still got worse and colder, instead of better. I staid that night, and in the morning they still insisted I couldn't get home. I knowed the water would be frozen over, but not hard enough to bear me, and so I agreed to stay that day. I went out hunting again, and

Page 101

pursued a big he-bear all day, but didn't kill him. The next morning was bitter cold, but I knowed my family was without meat, and I determined to get home to them, or die a-trying.

        I took my keg of powder, and all my hunting tools, and cut out. When I got to the water, it was a sheet of ice as far as I could see. I put on to it but hadn't got far before it broke through with me; and so I took out my tomahawk, and broke my way along before me for a considerable distance. At last I got to where the ice would bear me for a short distance, and I mounted on it, and went ahead; but it soon broke in again, and I had to wade on till I came to my floating log. I found it so tight this time, that I know'd it couldn't give me another fall, as it was frozen in with the ice. I crossed over it without much difficulty, and worked along till I got to my lodged sapling and my log under the water. The swiftness of the current prevented the water from freezing over it, and so I had to wade, just as I did when I crossed it before. When I got to my sapling, I left my gun, and climbed out with my powder keg first, and then went back and got my gun. By this time I was nearly frozen to death, but I saw all along before me where the ice had been fresh broke, and I thought it must be a bear straggling about in the water. I, therefore, fresh primed my gun, and, cold as I was, I was determined to make war on him, if we met. But I followed the trail till it led me home, and then I found it had been made by my young man that lived with me, who had been sent by my distressed wife to see, if he could, what had become of me, for they all believed I was dead. When I got home, I wasn't quite dead, but mighty nigh it; but had my powder, and that was what I went for.

Page 102



        IN the morning I left my son at the camp, and we started on towards the harricane, and when we had went about a mile, we started a very large bear, but we got along mighty slow on account of the cracks in the earth occasioned by the earthquakes. We, however, made out to keep in hearing of the dogs for about three miles, and then we come to the harricane. Here we had to quit our horses, as old Nick himself couldn't have got through it without sneaking it along in the form that he put on to make a fool of our old grandmother Eve. By this time several of my dogs had got tired and come back; but we went ahead on foot for some little time in the harricane, when we met a bear coming straight to us, and not more than twenty or thirty yards off. I started my tired dogs after him, and McDaniel pursued them, and I went on to where my other dogs were. I had seen the track of the bear they were after, and I knowed he was a screamer. I followed on to about the middle of the harricane, but my dogs pursued him so close, that they made him climb an old stump about twenty feet high. I got in shooting distance of him and fired, but I was all over in such a flutter from fatigue and running, that I couldn't hold steady; but, however, I broke his shoulder, and he fell. I run up and loaded

        From The Life of David Crockett, by Himself.

Page 103

my gun as quick as possible, and shot him again and killed him. When I went to take out my knife to butcher him, I found that I had lost it in coming through the harricane. The vines and briars was so thick that I would sometimes have to get down and crawl like a varment to get through it all; and a vine had, as I supposed, caught in the handle and pulled it out. While I was standing and studying what to do, my friend came to me. He had followed my trail through the harricane, and had found my knife, which was mighty good news to me; as a hunter hates the worst in the world to lose a good dog, or any part of his hunting tools. I now left McDaniel to butcher the bear, and I went after our horses, and brought them as near as the nature of the case would allow. I then took our bags, and went back to where he was; and when we skinned the bear, we fleeced off the fat and carried it to our horses at several loads. We then packed it up on our horses, and had a heavy pack of it on each one. We now started and went on till about sunset, when I concluded we must be near our camp; so I hollered and my son answered me, and we moved on in the direction to the camp. We had gone but a little way when I heard my dogs make a warm start again; and I jumped down from my horse and gave him up to my friend, and told him I would follow them. He went on to the camp, and I went ahead after my dogs with all my might for a considerable distance, till at last night came on. The woods were very rough and hilly, and all covered over with cane.

        I now was compelled to move more slowly; and was frequently falling over logs, and into the cracks made by the earthquakes, so I was very much afraid I would break my gun. However, I went on about three miles,

Page 104

when I came to a good big creek, which I waded. It was very cold, and the creek was about knee-deep; but I felt no great inconvenience from it just then, as I was over wet with sweat from running, and I felt hot enough. After I got over this creek and out of the cane, which was very thick on all our creeks, I listened for my dogs. I found they had either treed or brought the bear to a stop, as they continued barking in the same place. I pushed on as near in the direction of the noise as I could, till I found the hill was too steep for me to climb, and so I backed and went down the creek some distance, till I came to a hollow, and then took up that, till I came to a place where I could climb up the hill. It was mighty dark, and was difficult to see my way, or anything else. When I got up the hill, I found I had passed the dogs; and so I turned and went to them. I found, when I got there, they had treed the bear in a large forked poplar, and it was setting in the fork.

        I could see the lump, but not plain enough to shoot with any certainty, as there was no moonlight; and so set in to hunting for some dry brush to make me a light; but I could find none, though I could find that the ground was torn mightily to pieces by the cracks.1

        At last I thought I could shoot by guess, and kill him; so I pointed as near the lump as I could, and fired away. But the bear didn't come, he only clumb up higher, and got out on a limb, which helped me to see him better. I now loaded up again and fired, but this time he didn't move at all. I commenced loading for a third fire, but the first thing I knowed, the bear was down among my dogs, and they were fighting all around me. I had my big butcher in my belt, and I had a pair of dressed

        1 Caused by earthquakes.

Page 105

breeches on. So I took out my knife, and stood, determined, if he should get hold of me, to defend myself in the best way I could. I stood there for some time, and could now and then see a white dog I had, but the rest of them, and the bear, which were dark colored, I couldn't see at all, it was so miserable dark. They still fought around me, and sometimes within three feet of me; but, at last, the bear got down into one of the cracks that the earthquakes had made in the ground, about four feet deep, and I could tell the biting end of him by the hollering of my dogs. So I took my gun and pushed the muzzle of it about, till I thought I had it against the main part of his body, and fired; but it happened to be only the fleshy part of his foreleg. With this he jumped out of the crack, and he and the dogs had another hard fight around me, as before. At last, however, they forced him back into the crack again, as he was when I had shot.

        I had laid down my gun in the dark, and I now began to hunt for it; and, while hunting, I got hold of a pole, and I concluded I would punch him awhile with that. I did so, and when I would punch him the dogs would jump in on him, when he would bite them badly, and they would jump out again. I concluded, as he would take punching so patiently, it might be that he would lie still enough for me to get down in the crack, and feel slowly along till I could find the right place to give him a dig with my butcher. So I got down, and my dogs got in before him and kept his head towards them, till I got along easily up to him; and placing my hand on his rump, felt for his shoulder, just behind where I intended to stick him. I made a lunge with my long knife, and fortunately struck him right through the heart, at which he just sank down, and I crawled out in a hurry. In a

Page 106

little time my dogs all come out too, and seemed satisfied, which was the way they always had of telling me that they had finished him.

        I suffered very much that night with cold, as my leather breeches and everything else I had on was wet and frozen. But I managed to get my bear out of this crack after several hard trials, and so I butchered him and laid down to try to sleep. But my fire was very bad, and I couldn't find anything that would burn well to make it any better; and so I concluded I should freeze; if I didn't warm myself in some way by exercise. So I got up and hollered awhile, and then I would just jump up and down with all my might, and throw myself into all sorts of motions. But all this wouldn't do; for my blood was now getting cold, and the chills coming all over me. I was so tired, too, that I could hardly walk; but I thought I would do the best I could to save my life, and then, if I died, nobody would be to blame. So I went up to a tree about two feet through and not a limb on it for thirty feet, and I would climb up to the limbs, and then lock my arms together around it, and slide down to the bottom again. This would make the inside of my legs and arms feel mighty warm and good. I continued this till daylight in the morning, and how often I climbed up my tree and slid down I don't know, but I reckon at least a hundred times.

        In the morning I got my bear hung up so as to be safe, and then set out to hunt for my camp. I found it after awhile, and McDaniel and my son were very much rejoiced to see me get back, for they were about to give me up for lost. We got our breakfasts, and then secured our meat by building a high scaffold, and covering it over. We had no fear of its spoiling, for the weather was so cold that it couldn't.

Page 107

        We now started after my other bear, which had caused me so much trouble and suffering; and before we got him, we got a start after another, and took him also. We went on to the creek I had crossed the night before, and camped, and then went to where my bear was that I had killed in the crack. When we examined the place, McDaniel said he wouldn't have gone into it, as I did, for all the bears in the woods.

        We then took the meat down to our camp and salted it, and also the last one we had killed; intending in the morning, to make a hunt in the harricane again.

        We prepared for resting that night, and I can assure the reader I was in need of it. We had laid down by our fire, and about ten o'clock there came a most terrible earthquake, which shook the earth so, that we rocked about like we had been in a cradle. We were very much alarmed; for though we were accustomed to feel earthquakes, we were now right in the region which had been torn to pieces by them in 1812, and we thought it might take a notion and swallow us up, like the big fish did Jonah.

        In the morning, we packed up and moved to the harricane, where we made another camp, and turned out that evening and killed a very large bear, which made eight we had now killed in this hunt.

        The next morning we entered the harricane again, and in a little or no time my dogs were in full cry. We pursued them, and soon came to a thick canebrake, in which they had stopped their bear. We got up close to him, as the cane was so thick that we couldn't see more than a few feet. Here I made my friend hold the cane a little open with his gun till I shot the bear, which was a mighty large one. I killed him dead in his tracks. We got him out and butchered him, and in a little time

Page 108

started another and killed him, which now made ten we had killed; and we knowed we couldn't pack any more home, as we had only five horses along; therefore we returned to the camp and salted up all our meat, to be ready for a start homeward next morning.

        The morning came, and we packed our horses with meat, and had as much as they could possibly carry, and sure enough cut out for home. It was about thirty miles, and we reached home the second day. I had now accommodated my neighbor with meat enough to do him, and had killed in all, up to that time, fifty-eight bears, during the fall and winter.

        As soon as the time come for them to quit their houses and come out again in the spring, I took a notion to hunt a little more, and in about one month I killed forty-seven more, which made one hundred and five bears which I had killed in less than one year from that time.

Page 109



        LEE surrendered the remnant of his army at Appomattox, April 9, 1865, and yet a couple of days later the old Colonel's battery lay intrenched right in the mountain-pass where it had halted three days before. Two weeks previously it had been detailed with a light division sent to meet and repel a force which it was understood was coming in by way of the south-west valley to strike Lee in the rear of his long line from Richmond to Petersburg. It had done its work. The mountain-pass had been seized and held, and the Federal force had not gotten by that road within the blue rampart which guarded on that side the heart of Virginia. This pass, which was the key to the main line of passage over the mountains, had been assigned by the commander of the division to the old Colonel and his old battery, and they had held it. The position taken by the battery had been chosen with a soldier's eye. A better place could not have been selected to hold the pass. It was its highest point, just where the road crawled over the shoulder of the mountain along the limestone cliff, a hundred feet sheer above the deep river, where its waters had cut their way in ages past, and now lay deep and silent, as if resting after their arduous toil before

        From The Burial of the Guns. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 110

they began to boil over the great bowlders which filled the bed a hundred or more yards below.

        The little plateau at the top guarded the descending road on either side for nearly a mile, and the mountain on the other side of the river was the centre of a clump of rocky, heavily timbered spurs, so inaccessible that no feet but those of wild animals or of the hardiest hunter had ever climbed it. On the side of the river on which the road lay, the only path out over the mountain except the road itself was a charcoal-burner's track, dwindling at times to a footway known only to the mountain-folk, which a picket at the top could hold against an army. The position, well defended, was impregnable, and it was well defended. This the general of the division knew when he detailed the old Colonel and gave him his order to hold the pass until relieved, and not let his guns fall into the hands of the enemy. He knew both the Colonel and his battery. The battery was one of the oldest in the army. It had been in the service since April, 1861, and its commander had come to be known as "The Wheel Horse of his division." He was, perhaps, the oldest officer of his rank in his branch of the service. Although he had bitterly opposed secession, and was many years past the age of service when the war came on, yet as soon as the President called on the State for her quota of troops to coerce South Carolina, he had raised and uniformed an artillery company, and offered it, not to the President of the United States, but to the Governor of Virginia.

        It is just at this point that he suddenly looms up to me as a soldier; the relation he never wholly lost to me afterward, though I knew him for many, many years of peace. His gray coat with the red facing and the bars on the collar; his military cap; his gray flannel shirt--

Page 111

it was the first time I ever saw him wear anything but immaculate linen--his high boots; his horse caparisoned1 with a black, high-peaked saddle, with crupper and breast-girth, instead of the light English hunting-saddle to which I had been accustomed, all come before me now as if it were but the other day. I remember but little beyond it, yet I remember, as if it were yesterday, his leaving home, and the scenes which immediately preceded it; the excitement created by the news of the President's call for troops; the unanimous judgment that it meant war; the immediate determination of the old Colonel, who had hitherto opposed secession, that it must be met; the suppressed agitation on the plantation attendant upon the tender of his services and the governor's acceptance of them. The prompt and continuous work incident to the enlistment of the men, the bustle of preparation, and all the scenes of that time, come before me now. It turned the calm current of the life of an old and placid country neighborhood, far from any city or centre, and stirred it into a boiling torrent, strong enough, or fierce enough to cut its way and join the general torrent which was bearing down and sweeping everything before it. It seemed but a minute before the quiet old plantation, in which the harvest, the corn-shucking, and the Christmas holidays alone marked the passage of the quiet seasons, and where a strange carriage or a single horseman coming down the big road was an event in life, was turned into a depot of war-supplies, and the neighborhood became a parade-ground. The old Colonel, not a colonel yet, nor even a captain, except by brevet, was on his horse by day-break and off on his rounds through the plantations and the pines enlisting his company. The office in the yard,

        1 Harnessed with decorative trappings.

Page 112

heretofore one in name only, became one now in reality, and a table was set out piled with papers, pens, ink, books of tactics and regulations, at which men were accepted and enrolled. Soldiers seemed to spring from the ground, as they did from the sowing of the dragon's teeth in the days of Cadmus. Men came up the high road or down the paths across the fields, sometimes singly, but oftener in little parties of two or three, and, asking for the Captain, entered the office as private citizens and came out soldiers enlisted for the war. There was nothing heard of on the plantation except fighting; white and black, all were at work, and all were eager; the servants contended for the honor of going with their master; the women flocked to the house to assist in the work of preparation, cutting out and making underclothes, knitting socks, picking lint, preparing bandages, and sewing on uniforms; for many of the men who had enlisted were of the poorest class, far too poor to furnish anything themselves, and their equipment had to be contributed mainly by wealthier neighbors. The work was carried on at night as well as by day, for the occasion was urgent. Meantime the men were being drilled by the Captain and his lieutenants, who had been militia officers of old. We were carried to see the drill at the cross-roads, and a brave sight it seemed to us: the lines marching and countermarching in the field, with the horses galloping as they wheeled amid clouds of dust, at the hoarse commands of the excited officers, and the roadside lined with spectators of every age and condition. I recall the arrival of the messenger one right, with the telegraphic order to the Captain to report with his company at "Camp Lee" immediately; the hush in the parlor that attended its reading; then the forced beginning of the conversation afterward in a somewhat

Page 113

strained and unnatural key, and the Captain's quick and decisive outlining of his plans.

        Within the hour a dozen messengers were on their way in various directions to notify the members of the command of the summons, and to deliver the order for their attendance at a given point next day. It seemed that a sudden and great change had come. It was the actual appearance of what had hitherto only been theoretical--war. The next morning the Captain, in full uniform, took leave of the assembled plantation, with a few solemn words commending all he left behind to God, and galloped away up the big road to join and lead his battery to the war, and to be gone just four years.

        Within a month he was on "the Peninsula" with Magruder, guarding Virginia on the east against the first attack. His camp was first at Yorktown and then on Jamestown Island, the honor having been assigned his battery of guarding the oldest cradle of the race on this continent. It was at "Little Bethel" that his guns were first trained on the enemy, and that the battery first saw what they had to do, and from this time until the middle of April, 1865, they were in service, and no battery saw more service or suffered more in it. Its story was a part of the story of the Southern army in Virginia. The Captain was a rigid disciplinarian, and his company had more work to do than most new companies. A pious churchman, of the old puritanical type not uncommon to Virginia, he looked after the spiritual as well as the physical welfare of his men, and his chaplain or he read prayers at the head of his company every morning during the war. At first he was not popular with the men; he made the duties of camp life so onerous to them, it was "nothing but drilling and praying all

Page 114

the time," they said. But he had not commanded very long before they came to know the stuff that was in him. He had not been in service a year before he had had four horses shot under him, and when later on he was offered the command of a battalion, the old company petitioned to be one of his batteries, and still remained under his command. Before the first year was out the battery had, through its own elements, and the discipline of the Captain, become a cohesive force, and a distinct integer in the Army of Northern Virginia. Young farmer recruits knew of its prestige and expressed preference for it over many batteries of rapidly growing or grown reputation. Owing to its high stand, the old and clumsy guns with which it had started out were taken from it, and in their place was presented a battery of four fine, brass, twelve-pound Napoleons of the newest and most approved kind, and two three-inch Parrotts, all captured. The men were as pleased with them as children with new toys. The care and attention needed to keep them in prime order broke the monotony of camp life. They soon had abundant opportunities to test their power. They worked admirably, carried far, and were extraordinarily accurate in their aim. The men from admiration of their guns grew to have first a pride in, and then an affection for, them, and gave them nicknames as they did their comrades; the four Napoleons being dubbed "The Evangelists," and the two rifles being "The Eagle," because of its scream and force, and "The Cat," because when it became hot from rapid firing "it jumped," they said, "like a cat." From many a hill-top in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania "The Evangelists" spoke their hoarse message of battle and death, "The Eagle" screamed her terrible note, and "The Cat" jumped as she spat her deadly shot from her

Page 115

hot throat. In the Valley of Virginia; on the levels of Henrico and Hanover; on the slopes of Manassas; in the woods of Chancellorsville; on the heights of Fredericksburg; at Antietam and Gettysburg; in the Spottsylvania wilderness, and again on the Hanover levels and on the lines before Petersburg, the old guns through nearly four years roared from fiery throats their deadly messages. The history of the battery was bound up with the history of Lee's army. A rivalry sprang up among the detachments of the different guns, and their several records were jealously kept. The number of duels each gun was in was carefully counted, every scar got in battle was treasured, and the men around their campfires, at their scanty messes, or on the march, bragged of them among themselves and avouched them as witnesses. New recruits coming in to fill the gaps made by the killed and disabled, readily fell in with the common mood and caught the spirit like a contagion. It was not an uncommon thing for a wheel to be smashed in by a shell, but if it happened to one gun oftener than to another there was envy. Two of the Evangelists seemed to be especially favored in this line, while the Cat was so exempt as to become the subject of some derision. The men stood by the guns till they were knocked to pieces, and when the fortune of the day went against them, had with their own hands oftener than once saved them after most of their horses were killed.

        This had happened in turn to every gun, the men at times working like beavers in mud up to their thighs and under a murderous fire to get their guns out. Many a man had been killed tugging at trail or wheel when the day was against them; but not a gun had ever been lost. At last the evil day arrived. At Winchester a sudden and impetuous charge for a while swept everything before

Page 116

it, and carried the knoll where the old battery was posted; but all the guns were got out by the toiling and rapidly dropping men, except the Cat, which was captured with its entire detachment working at it until they were surrounded and knocked from the piece by cavalrymen. Most of the men who were not killed were retaken before the day was over, with many guns; but the Cat was lost. She remained in the enemy's hands and probably was being turned against her old comrades and lovers. The company was inconsolable. The death of comrades was too natural and common a thing to depress the men beyond what such occurrences necessarily did; but to lose a gun! It was like losing the old Colonel; it was worse: a gun was ranked as a brigadier; and the Cat was equal to a major-general. The other guns seemed lost without her; the Eagle especially, which generally went next to her, appeared to the men to have a lonely and subdued air. The battery was no longer the same: it seemed broken and depleted, shrunken to a mere section. It was worse than Cold Harbor, where over half the men were killed or wounded. The old Captain, now Colonel of the battalion, appreciated the loss and apprehended its effect on the men as much as they themselves did, and application was made for a gun to take the place of the lost piece; but there was none to be had, as the men said they had known all along. It was added--perhaps by a department clerk--that if they wanted a gun to take the place of the one they had lost, they had better capture it. "By--, we will," they said--adding epithets, intended for the department clerk in his "bomb-proof," not to be printed in this record--and they did. For some time afterward in every engagement into which they got there used to be speculation among them as to whether the Cat were not

Page 117

there on the other side; some of the men swearing they could tell her report, and even going to the rash length of offering bets on her presence.

        By one of those curious coincidences, as strange as anything in fiction, a new general had, in 1864, come down across the Rapidan to take Richmond, and the old battery had found a hill-top in the line in which Lee's army lay stretched across "the Wilderness" country to stop him. The day, though early in May, was a hot one, and the old battery, like most others, had suffered fearfully. Two of the guns had had wheels cut down by shells and the men had been badly cut up; but the fortune of the day had been with Lee, and a little before nightfall, after a terrible fight, there was a rapid advance, Lee's infantry sweeping everything before it, and the artillery, after opening the way for the charge, pushing along with it; now unlimbering as some vantage-ground was gained, and using canister with deadly effect; now driving ahead again so rapidly that it was mixed up with the muskets when the long line of breastworks was carried with a rush, and a line of guns were caught still hot from their rapid work. As the old battery, with lathered horses and smoke-grimed men, swung up the crest and unlimbered on the captured breastwork, a cheer went up which was heard even above the long general yell of the advancing line, and for a moment half the men in the battery crowded together around some object on the edge of the redoubt, yelling like madmen. The next instant they divided, and there was the Cat, smoke-grimed and blood-stained and still sweating hot from her last fire, being dragged from her muddy ditch by as many men as could get hold of trail-rope or wheel, and rushed into her old place beside the Eagle, in time to be double-shotted with canister to the

Page 118

muzzle, and to pour it from among her old comrades into her now retiring former masters. Still, she had a new carriage, and her record was lost, while those of the other guns had been faithfully kept by the men. This made a difference in her position for which even the bullets in her wheels did not wholly atone; even Harris, the sergeant of her detachment, felt that.

        It was only a few days later, however, that abundant atonement was made. The new general did not retire across the Rapidan after his first defeat, and a new battle had to be fought: a battle, if anything, more furious, more terrible than the first, when the dead filled the trenches and covered the fields. He simply marched by the left flank, and Lee marching by the right flank to head him, flung himself upon him again at Spottsylvania Court-House. That day the Cat, standing in her place behind the new and temporary breastwork thrown up when the battery was posted, had the felloes of her wheels, which showed above the top of the bank, entirely cut away by Minie-bullets, so that when she jumped in the recoil her wheels smashed and let her down. This covered all old scores. The other guns had been cut down by shells or solid shot; but never before had one been gnawed down by musket-balls. From this time all through the campaign the Cat held her own beside her brazen and bloody sisters, and in the cold trenches before Petersburg that winter, when the new general--Starvation--had joined the one already there, she made her bloody mark as often as any gun on the long lines.

        Thus the old battery had come to be known, as its old commander, now colonel of a battalion, had come to be known by those in yet higher command. And when in the opening spring of 1865 it became apparent to the

Page 119

leaders of both armies that the long line could not longer be held if a force should enter behind it, and, sweeping the one partially unswept portion of Virginia, cut the railways in the south-west, and a man was wanted to command the artillery in the expedition sent to meet this force, it was not remarkable that the old Colonel and his battalion should be selected for the work. The force sent out was but small; for the long line was worn to a thin one in those days, and great changes were taking place, the consequences of which were known only to the commanders. In a few days the commander of the expedition found that he must divide his small force for a time, at least, to accomplish his purpose, and sending the old Colonel with one battery of artillery to guard one pass, must push on over the mountain by another way to meet the expected force, if possible, and repel it before it crossed the farther range. Thus, the old battery, on an April evening of 1865, found itself toiling alone up the steep mountain road which leads above the river to the gap, which formed the chief pass in that part of the Blue Ridge. Both men and horses looked, in the dim and waning light of the gray April day, rather like shadows of the beings they represented than the actual beings themselves. And any one seeing them as they toiled painfully up, the thin horses floundering in the mud, and the men, often up to their knees, tugging at the sinking wheels, now stopping to rest, and always moving so slowly that they seemed scarcely to advance at all, might have thought them the ghosts of some old battery lost from some long gone and forgotten war on that deep and desolate mountain road. Often, when they stopped, the blowing of the horses and the murmuring of the river in its bed below were the only sounds heard, and the tired voices of the men when they spoke

Page 120

among themselves seemed hardly more articulate sounds than they. Then the voice of the mounted figure on the roan horse half hidden in the mist would cut in, clear and inspiring, in a tone of encouragement more than of command, and everything would wake up: the drivers would shout and crack their whips; the horses would bend themselves on the collars and flounder in the mud; the men would spring once more to the mud-clogged wheels, and the slow ascent would begin again.

        The orders to the Colonel, as has been said, were brief: To hold the pass until he received further instructions, and not to lose his guns. To be ordered, with him, was to obey. The last streak of twilight brought them to the top of the pass; his soldier's instinct and a brief reconnoissance made earlier in the day told him that this was his place, and before daybreak next morning the point was as well fortified as a night's work by weary and supperless men, could make it. A prettier spot could not have been found for the purpose; a small plateau, something over an acre in extent, where a charcoal-burner's hut had once stood, lay right at the top of the pass. It was a little higher on either side than in the middle, where a small brook, along which the charcoalburner's track was yet visible, came down from the wooded mountain above, thus giving a natural crest to aid the fortification on either side, with open space for the guns, while the edge of the wood coming down from the mountain afforded shelter for the camp.

        As the battery was unsupported it had to rely on itself for everything; a condition which most soldiers by this time were accustomed to. A dozen or so of rifles were in the camp, and with these pickets were armed and posted. The pass had been seized none too soon; a scout brought in the information before nightfall that

Page 121

the invading force had crossed the farther range before that sent to meet it could get there, and taking the nearest road had avoided the main body opposing it, and been met only by a rapidly moving detachment, nothing more than a scouting party, and now was advancing rapidly on the road on which they were posted, evidently meaning to seize the pass and cross the mountain at this point. The day was Sunday; a beautiful spring Sunday; but it was no Sabbath for the old battery. All day the men worked, making and strengthening their redoubt to guard the pass, and by the next morning, with the old battery at the top, it was impregnable. They were just in time. Before noon their vedettes brought in word that the enemy were ascending the mountain, and the sun had hardly turned when the advance guard rode up, came within range of the picket, and were fired on.

        It was apparent that they supposed the force there only a small one, for they retired and soon came up again reinforced in some numbers, and a sharp little skirmish ensued, hot enough to make them more prudent afterward, though the picket retired up the mountain. This gave them encouragement and probably misled them, for they now advanced boldly. They saw the redoubt on the crest as they came on, and unlimbering a section or two, flung a few shells up at it, which either fell short or passed over without doing material damage. None of the guns was allowed to respond, as the distance was too great with the ammunition the battery had, and, indifferent as it was, it was too precious to be wasted in a duel at an ineffectual range. Doubtless deceived by this, the enemy came on in force, being obliged by the character of the ground to keep almost entirely to the road, which really made

Page 122

them advance in column. The battery waited. Under orders of the Colonel the guns standing in line were double-shotted with canister, and, loaded to the muzzle, were trained down to sweep the road at from four to five hundred yards' distance. And when the column reached this point the six guns, aimed by old and skilful gunners, at a given word swept road and mountainside with a storm of leaden hail. It was a fire no mortal man could stand up against, and the practised gunners rammed their pieces full again, and before the smoke had cleared or the reverberation had died away among the mountains, had fired the guns again and yet again. The road was cleared of living things when the draught setting down the river drew the smoke away; but it was no discredit to the other force; for no army that was ever uniformed could stand against that battery in that pass. Again and again the attempt was made to get a body of men up under cover of the woods and rocks on the mountain-side, while the guns below utilized their better ammunition from longer range; but it was useless. Although one of the lieutenants and several men were killed in the skirmish, and a number more were wounded, though not severely, the old battery commanded the mountain-side, and its skilful gunners swept it at every point the foot of man could scale. The sun went down flinging his last flame on a victorious battery still crowning the mountain pass. The dead were buried by night in a corner of the little plateau, borne to their last bivouac1 on the old gun-carriages which they had stood by so often--which the men said would "sort of ease their minds."

        The next day the fight was renewed, and with the same result. The old battery in its position was

        1 Camping-place.

Page 123

unconquerable. Only one fear now faced them: their ammunition was getting as low as their rations; another such day or half-day would exhaust it. A sergeant was sent back down the mountain to try to get more, or, if not, to get tidings. The next day it was supposed the fight would be renewed; and the men waited, alert, eager, vigilant, their spirits high, their appetite for victory whetted by success. The men were at their breakfast, or what went for breakfast, scanty at all times, now doubly so, hardly deserving the title of a meal, so poor and small were the portions of corn-meal, cooked in their frying-pans, which went for their rations, when the sound of artillery below broke on the quiet air. They were on their feet in an instant and at the guns, crowding upon the breastwork to look or to listen; for the road, as far as could be seen down the mountain, was empty except for their own picket, and lay as quiet as if sleeping in the balmy air. And yet volley after volley of artillery came rolling up the mountain. What could it mean? That the rest of their force had come up and was engaged with that at the foot of the mountain? The Colonel decided to be ready to go and help them; to fall on the enemy in the rear; perhaps they might capture the entire force. It seemed the natural thing to do, and the guns were limbered up in an incredibly short time, and a roadway made through the intrenchment, the men working like beavers under the excitement. Before they had left the redoubt, however, the vedettes sent out returned and reported that there was no engagement going on, and the firing below seemed to be only practising. There was quite a stir in the camp below; but they had not even broken camp. This was mysterious. Perhaps it meant that they had received reinforcements, but it was a queer way of showing it. The

Page 124

old Colonel sighed as he thought of the good ammunition they could throw away down there, and of his empty limber-chests. It was necessary to be on the alert, however; the guns were run back into their old places, and the horses picketed once more back among the trees. Meantime he sent another messenger back, this time a courier, for he had but one commissioned officer left, and the picket below was strengthened.

        The morning passed and no one came; the day wore on and still no advance was made by the force below. It was suggested that the enemy had left; he had, at least, gotten enough of that battery. A reconnoissance, however, showed that he was still encamped at the foot of the mountain. It was conjectured that he was trying to find a way around to take them in the rear, or to cross the ridge by the foot-path. Preparation was made to guard more closely the mountain-path across the spur, and a detachment was sent up to strengthen the picket there. The waiting told on the men and they grew bored and restless. They gathered about the guns in groups and talked; talked of each piece some, but not with the old spirit and vim; the loneliness of the mountain seemed to oppress them; the mountains stretching up so brown and gray on one side of them, and so brown and gray on the other, with their bare, dark forests soughing from time to time as the wind swept up the pass. The minds of the men seemed to go back to the time when they were not so alone, but were part of a great and busy army, and some of them fell to talking of the past, and the battles they had figured in, and of the comrades they had lost. They told them off in a slow and colorless way, as if it were all part of the past as much as the dead they named. One hundred and nineteen times they had been in action. Only seventeen

Page 125

men were left of the eighty odd who had first enlisted in the battery, and of these four were at home crippled for life. Two of the oldest men had been among the half-dozen who had fallen in the skirmish just the day before. It looked tolerably hard to be killed that way after passing for four years through such battles as they had been in; and both had wives and children at home, too, and not a cent to leave them to their names. They agreed calmly that they'd have to "sort of look after them a little" if they ever got home. These were some of the things they talked about as they pulled their old worn coats about them, stuffed their thin, weather-stained hands in their ragged pockets to warm them, and squatted down under the breastwork to keep a little out of the wind. One thing they talked about a good deal was something to eat. They described meals they had had at one time or another as personal adventures, and discussed the chances of securing others in the future as if they were prizes of fortune. One listening and seeing their thin, worn faces and their wasted frames might have supposed they were starving, and they were, but they did not say so.

        Toward the middle of the afternoon there was a sudden excitement in the camp. A dozen men saw them at the same time: a squad of three men down the road at the farthest turn, past their picket; but an advancing column could not have created as much excitement, for the middle man carried a white flag. In a minute every man in the battery was on the breastwork. What could it mean! It was a long way off, nearly half a mile, and the flag was small: possibly only a pocket-handkerchief or a napkin; but it was held aloft as a flag unmistakably. A hundred conjectures were indulged in. Was it a summons to surrender? A request for an

Page 126

armistice for some purpose? Or was it a trick to ascertain their number and position? Some held one view, some another. Some extreme ones thought a shot ought to be fired over them to warn them not to come on; no flags of truce were wanted. The old Colonel, who had walked to the edge of the plateau outside the redoubt and taken his position where he could study the advancing figures with his field-glass, had not spoken. The lieutenant who was next in command to him had walked out after him, and stood near him, from time to time dropping a word or two of conjecture in a half-audible tone; but the Colonel had not answered a word; perhaps none was expected. Suddenly he took his glass down, and gave an order to the lieutenant: "Take two men and meet them at the turn yonder; learn their business; and act as your best judgment advises. If necessary to bring the messenger farther, bring only the officer who has the flag, and halt him at that rock yonder, where I will join him." The tone was as placid as if such an occurrence came every day. Two minutes later the lieutenant was on his way down the mountain and the Colonel had the men in ranks. His face was as grave and his manner as quiet as usual, neither more nor less so. The men were in a state of suppressed excitement. Having put them in charge of the second sergeant, the Colonel returned to the breastwork. The two officers were slowly ascending the hill, side by side, the bearer of the flag, now easily distinguishable in his jaunty uniform as a captain of cavalry, talking, and the lieutenant in faded gray, faced with yet more faded red, walking beside him with a face white even at that distance, and lips shut as though they would never open again. They halted at the big bowlder which the Colonel had indicated, and the lieutenant, having saluted ceremoniously,

Page 127

turned to come up to the camp; the Colonel, however, went down to meet him. The two men met, but there was no spoken question; if the Colonel inquired it was only with the eyes. The lieutenant spoke, however. "He says," he began and stopped, then began again--"he says, General Lee--" again he choked, then he blurted out, "I believe it is all a lie--a damned lie."

        "Not dead? Not killed?" said the Colonel, quickly.

        "No, not so bad as that; surrendered: surrendered his entire army at Appomattox day before yesterday. I believe it is all a damned lie," he broke out again, as if the hot denial relieved him. The Colonel simply turned away his face and stepped a pace or two off, and the two men stood motionless back to back for more than a minute. Then the Colonel stirred.

        "Shall I go back with you?" the lieutenant asked, huskily.

        The Colonel did not answer immediately. Then he said: "No, go back to camp and await my return." He said nothing about not speaking of the report. He knew it was not needed. Then he went down the hill slowly alone, while the lieutenant went up to the camp.

        The interview between the two officers beside the bowlder was not a long one. It consisted of a brief statement by the Federal envoy of the fact of Lee's surrender two days before near Appomattox Court-House, with the sources of his information, coupled with a formal demand on the Colonel for his surrender. To this the Colonel replied that he had been detached and put under command of another officer for a specific purpose, and that his orders were to hold that pass, which he should do until he was instructed otherwise by his superior in command. With that they parted, ceremoniously,

Page 128

the Federal captain returning to where he had left his horse in charge of his companions a little below, and the old Colonel coming slowly up the hill to camp. The men were at once set to work to meet any attack which might be made. They knew that the message was of grave import, but not of how grave. They thought it meant that another attack would be made immediately, and they sprang to their work with renewed vigor, and a zeal as fresh as if it were but the beginning and not the end.

        The time wore on, however, and there was no demonstration below, though hour after hour it was expected and even hoped for. Just as the sun sank into a bed of blue cloud a horseman was seen coming up the darkened mountain from the eastward side, and in a little while practised eyes reported him one of their own men--the sergeant who had been sent back the day before for ammunition. He was alone, and had something white before him on his horse--it could not be the ammunition; but perhaps that might be coming on behind. Every step of his jaded horse was anxiously watched. As he drew near, the lieutenant, after a word with the Colonel, walked down to meet him, and there was a short colloquy in the muddy road; then they came back together and slowly entered the camp, the sergeant handing down a bag of corn which he had got somewhere below, with the grim remark to his comrades, "There's your rations," and going at once to the Colonel's camp-fire, a little to one side among the trees, where the Colonel awaited him. A long conference was held, and then the sergeant left to take his luck with his mess, who were already parching the corn he had brought for their supper, while the lieutenant made the round of the camp; leaving the Colonel seated alone on a log by his campfire.

Page 129

He sat without moving, hardly stirring until the lieutenant returned from his round. A minute later the men were called from the guns and made to fall into line. They were silent, tremulous with suppressed excitement; the most sun-burned and weather-stained of them a little pale; the meanest, raggedest, and most insignificant not unimpressive in the deep and solemn silence with which they stood, their eyes fastened on the Colonel, waiting for him to speak. He stepped out in front of them, slowly ran his eye along the irregular line, up and down, taking in every man in his glance, resting on some longer than on others, the older men, then dropped them to the ground, and then suddenly, as if with an effort, began to speak. His voice had a somewhat metallic sound, as if it were restrained; but it was otherwise the ordinary tone of command. It was not much that he said: simply that it had become his duty to acquaint them with the information which he had received: that General Lee had surrendered two days before at Appomattox Court-House, yielding to overwhelming numbers; that this afternoon when he had first heard the report he had questioned its truth, but that it had been confirmed by one of their own men, and no longer admitted of doubt; that the rest of their own force, it was learned, had been captured, or had disbanded, and the enemy was now on both sides of the mountain; that a demand had been made on him that morning to surrender too; but that he had orders which he felt held good until they were countermanded, and he had declined. Later intelligence satisfied him that to attempt to hold out further would be useless, and would involve needless waste of life; he had determined, therefore, not to attempt to hold their position longer; but to lead them out, if possible, so as to avoid being

Page 130

made prisoners and enable them to reach home sooner and aid their families. His orders were not to let his guns fall into the enemy's hands, and he should take the only step possible to prevent it. In fifty minutes he should call the battery into line once more, and roll the guns over the cliff into the river, and immediately afterward, leaving the wagons there, he would try to lead them across the mountain, and as far as they could go in a body without being liable to capture, and then he should disband them, and his responsibility for them would end. As it was necessary to make some preparations, he would now dismiss them to prepare any rations they might have and get ready to march.

        All this was in the formal manner of a common order of the day; and the old Colonel had spoken in measured sentences, with little feeling in his voice. Not a man in the line had uttered a word after the first sound, half exclamation, half groan, which had burst from them at the announcement of Lee's surrender. After that they had stood in their tracks like rooted trees, as motionless as those on the mountain behind them, their eyes fixed on their commander, and only the quick heaving up and down the dark line, as of horses over-laboring, told of the emotion which was shaking them. The Colonel, as he ended, half turned to his subordinate officer at the end of the dim line, as though he were about to turn the company over to him to be dismissed; then faced the line again, and taking a step nearer, with a sudden movement of his hands toward the men as though he would have stretched them out to them, began again:

        "Men," he said, and his voice changed at the word, and sounded like a father's or a brother's, "my men, I cannot let you go so. We were neighbors when the

Page 131

war began--many of us, and some not here to-night; we have been more since then--comrades, brothers in arms; we have all stood for one thing--for Virginia and the South; we have all done our duty--tried to do our duty; we have fought a good fight, and now it seems to be over, and we have been overwhelmed by numbers, not whipped--and we are going home. We have the future before us--we don't know just what it will bring, but we can stand a good deal. We have proved it. Upon us depends the South in the future as in the past. You have done your duty in the past, you will not fail in the future. Go home and be honest, brave, self-sacrificing, God-fearing citizens, as you have been soldiers, and you need not fear for Virginia and the South. The war may be over; but you will ever be ready to serve your country. The end may not be as we wanted it, prayed for it, fought for it; but we can trust God; the end in the end will be the best that could be; even if the South is not free she will be better and stronger that she fought as she did. Go home and bring up your children to love her, and though you may have nothing else to leave them, you can leave them the heritage that they are sons of men who were in Lee's army."

        He stopped, looked up and down the ranks again, which had instinctively crowded together and drawn around him in a half-circle; made a sign to the lieutenant to take charge, and turned abruptly on his heel to walk away. But as he did so, the long pent-up emotion burst forth. With a wild cheer the men seized him, crowding around and hugging him, as with protestations, prayers, sobs, oaths--broken, incoherent, inarticulate--they swore to be faithful, to live loyal forever to the South, to him, to Lee. Many of them cried like

Page 132

children; others offered to go down and have one more battle on the plain. The old Colonel soothed them, and quieted their excitement, and then gave a command about the preparations to be made. This called them to order at once; and in a few minutes the camp was as orderly and quiet as usual: the fires were replenished; the scanty stores were being overhauled; the place was selected, and being got ready to roll the guns over the cliff; the camp was being ransacked for such articles as could be carried, and all preparations were being hastily made for their march.

        The old Colonel, having completed his arrangements, sat down by his camp-fire with paper and pencil, and began to write; and as the men finished their work they gathered about in groups, at first around their camp-fires, but shortly strolled over to where the guns still stood at the breastwork, black and vague in the darkness. Soon they were all assembled about the guns. One after another they visited, closing around it and handling it from muzzle to trail as a man might a horse to try its sinew and bone, or a child to feel its fineness and warmth. They were for the most part silent, and when any sound came through the dusk from them to the officers at their fire, it was murmurous and fitful as of men speaking low and brokenly. There was no sound of the noisy controversy which was generally heard, the give-and-take of the camp-fire, the firing backward and forward that went on on the march; if a compliment was paid a gun by one of its special detachment, it was accepted by the others; in fact, those who had generally run it down now seemed most anxious to accord the piece praise. Presently a small number of the men returned to a camp-fire, and, building it up, seated themselves about

Page 133

it, gathering closer and closer together until they were in a little knot. One of them appeared to be writing, while two or three took up flaming chunks from the fire and held them as torches for him to see by. In time the entire company assembled about them, standing in respectful silence, broken only occasionally by a reply from one or another to some question from the scribe. After a little there was a sound of a roll-call, and reading and a short colloquy followed, and then two men, one with a paper in his hand, approached the fire beside which the officers sat still engaged.

        "What is it, Harris?" said the Colonel to the man with the paper, who bore remnants of the chevrons of a sergeant on his stained and faded jacket.

        "If you please, sir," he said, with a salute, "we have been talking it over, and we'd like this paper to go in along with that you're writing." He held it out to the lieutenant, who was the nearer and had reached forward to take it. "We s'pose you're a-goin' to bury it with the guns," he said, hesitatingly, as he handed it over.

        "What is it?" asked the Colonel, shading his eyes with his hands.

        "It's just a little list we made out in and among us," he said, "with a few things we'd like to put in, so's if any one ever hauls 'em out they'll find it there to tell what the old battery was, and if they don't, it'll be in one of 'em down thar till judgment, an' it'll sort of ease our minds a bit." He stopped and waited as a man who had delivered his message. The old Colonel had risen and taken the paper, and now held it with a firm grasp, as if it might blow away with the rising wind. He did not say a word, but his hand shook a little as he proceeded to fold it carefully, and there was a burning gleam in his deep-set eyes, back under his bushy, gray brows.

Page 134

        "Will you sort of look over it, sir, if you think it's worth while? We was in a sort of hurry and we had to put it down just as we come to it; we didn't have time to pick our ammunition; and it ain't written the best in the world, nohow." He waited again, and the Colonel opened the paper and glanced down at it mechanically. It contained first a roster, headed by the list of six guns, named by name: "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John," "The Eagle," and "The Cat"; then of the men, beginning with the heading:

        "THOSE KILLED."

        Then had followed "Those wounded," but this was marked out. Then came a roster of the company when it first entered service; then of those who had joined afterward; then of those who were present now. At the end of all there was this statement, not very well written, nor wholly accurately spelt:

        "To Whom it may Concern: We, the above members of the old battery known, etc., of six guns, named, etc., commanded by the said Col. etc., left on the 11th day of April, 1865, have made out this roll of the battery, them as is gone and them as is left, to bury with the guns which the same we bury this night. We're all volunteers, every man; we joined the army at the beginning of the war, and we've stuck through to the end; sometimes we ain't had much to eat, and sometimes we ain't had nothin', but we've fought the best we could 119 battles and skirmishes as near as we can make out in four years, and never lost a gun. Now we're agoin' home. We ain't surrendered; just disbanded, and we pledges ourselves to teach our children to love the South and General Lee; and to come when we're called anywheres an' anytime, so help us God."

Page 135

        There was a dead silence whilst the Colonel read.

        " 'Tain't entirely accurite, sir, in one particular," said the sergeant, apologetically; "but we thought it would be playin' it sort o' low down on the Cat if we was to say we lost her unless we could tell about gittin' of her back, and the way she done since, and we didn't have time to do all that." He looked around as if to receive the corroboration of the other men, which they signified by nods and shuffling.

        The Colonel said it was all right, and the paper should go into the guns.

        "If you please, sir, the guns are all loaded," said the sergeant; "in and about our last charge, too; and we'd like to fire 'em off once more, jist for old times' sake to remember 'em by, if you don't think no harm could come of it?"

        The Colonel reflected a moment and said it might be done; they might fire each gun separately as they rolled it over, or might get all ready and fire together, and then roll them over, whichever they wished. This was satisfactory.

        The men were then ordered to prepare to march immediately, and withdrew for the purpose. The pickets were called in. In a short time they were ready, horses and all, just as they would have been to march ordinarily, except that the wagons and caissons were packed over in one corner by the camp with the harness hung on poles beside them, and the guns stood in their old places at the breastwork ready to defend the pass. The embers of the sinking camp-fires threw a faint light on them standing so still and silent. The old Colonel took his place, and at a command from him in a somewhat low voice, the men, except a detail left to hold the horses, moved into company-front facing the guns. Not a

Page 136

word was spoken, except the words of command. At the order each detachment went to its gun; the guns were run back and the men with their own hands ran them up on the edge of the perpendicular bluff above the river, where, sheer below, its waters washed its base, as if to face an enemy on the black mountain the other side. The pieces stood ranged in the order in which they had so often stood in battle, and the gray, thin fog rising slowly and silently from the river deep down between the cliffs, and wreathing the mountain-side above, might have been the smoke from some unearthly battle fought in the dim pass by ghostly guns, yet posted there in the darkness, manned by phantom gunners, while phantom horses stood behind, lit vaguely up by phantom camp-fires. At the given word the laniards were pulled together, and together as one the six black guns, belching flame and lead, roared their last challenge on the misty night, sending a deadly hail of shot and shell, tearing the trees and splintering the rocks of the farther side, and sending the thunder reverberating through the pass and down the mountain, startling from its slumber the sleeping camp on the hills below, and driving the browsing deer and the prowling mountain-fox in terror up the mountain.

        There was silence among the men about the guns for one brief instant and then such a cheer burst forth as had never broken from them even in battle: cheer on cheer, the long, wild, old familiar rebel yell for the guns they had fought with and loved.

        The noise had not died away and the men behind were still trying to quiet the frightened horses when the sergeant, the same who had written, received from the hand of the Colonel a long package or roll which contained the records of the battery furnished by the men

Page 137

and by the Colonel himself, securely wrapped to make them water-tight, and it was rammed down the yet warm throat of the nearest gun: the Cat, and then the gun was tamped to the muzzle to make her water-tight, and, like her sisters, was spiked, and her vent tamped tight. All this took but a minute, and the next instant the guns were run up once more to the edge of the cliff; and the men stood by them with their hands still on them. A deadly silence fell on the men, and even the horses behind seemed to feel the spell. There was a long pause in which not a breath was heard from any man, and the soughing1 of the tree-tops above and the rushing of the rapids below were the only sounds. They seemed to come from far, very far away. Then the Colonel said, quietly, "Let them go, and God be our helper, Amen." There was the noise in the darkness of trampling and scraping on the cliff-top for a second; the sound as of men straining hard together, and then with a pant it ceased all at once, and the men held their breath to hear. One second of utter silence; then one prolonged, deep, resounding splash sending up a great mass of white foam as the brass-pieces together plunged into the dark water below, and then the soughing of the trees and the murmur of the river came again with painful distinctness. It was full ten minutes before the Colonel spoke, though there were other sounds enough in the darkness, and some of the men, as the dark, outstretched bodies showed, were lying on the ground flat on their faces. Then the Colonel gave the command to fall in in the same quiet, grave tone he had used all night. The line fell in, the men getting to their horses and mounting in silence; the Colonel put himself at their head and gave the order of march, and the dark line turned in the darkness,

        1 Sighing.

Page 138

crossed the little plateau between the smouldering campfires and the spectral caissons with the harness hanging beside them, and slowly entered the dim charcoal-burner's track. Not a word was spoken as they moved off. They might all have been phantoms. Only, the sergeant in the rear, as he crossed the little breastwork which ran along the upper side and marked the boundary of the little camp, half turned and glanced at the dying fires, the low, newly made mounds in the corner, the abandoned caissons, and the empty redoubt, and said, slowly, in a low voice to himself,

        "Well, by God!"

Page 139



        THE name of Free Joe strikes humorously upon the ear of memory. It is impossible to say why, for he was the humblest, the simplest, and the most serious of all God's living creatures, sadly lacking in all those elements that suggest the humorous. It is certain, moreover, that in 1850 the sober-minded citizens of the little Georgian village of Hillsborough were not inclined to take a humorous view of Free Joe, and neither his name nor his presence provoked a smile. He was a black atom, drifting hither and thither without an owner, blown about by all the winds of circumstances and given over to shiftlessness.

        The problems of one generation are the paradoxes of a succeeding one, particularly if war, or some such incident, intervenes to clarify the atmosphere and strengthen the understanding. Thus, in 1850, Free Joe represented not only a problem of large concern, but, in the watchful eyes of Hillsborough, he was the

        1 This story is significant as a presentation of slavery from another point of view than that found in Mr. Page's stories, or in the Uncle Remus stories. In answer to criticism of this story, Mr. Harris said: "What does it matter whether I am Northern or Southern if I am true to truth and true to that larger truth, my own true self?"

        From Free Joe and Other Georgian Sketches. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 140

embodiment of that vague and mysterious danger that seemed to be forever lurking on the outskirts of slavery, ready to sound a shrill and ghostly signal in the impenetrable swamps, and steal forth under the mid-night stars to murder, rapine, and pillage,--a danger always threatening, and yet never assuming shape; intangible, and yet real; impossible, and yet not improbable. Across the serene and smiling front of safety, the pale outlines of the awful shadow of insurrection sometimes fell. With this invisible panorama as background, it was natural that the figure of Free Joe, simple and humble as it was, should assume undue proportions. Go where he would, do what he might, he could not escape the finger of observation and the kindling eye of suspicion. His lightest words were noted, his slightest actions marked.

        Under all the circumstances it was natural that his peculiar condition should reflect itself in his habits and manners. The slaves laughed loudly day by day, but Free Joe rarely laughed. The slaves sang at their work and danced at their frolics, but no one ever heard Free Joe sing or saw him dance. There was something painfully plaintive and appealing in his attitude, something touching in his anxiety to please. He was of the friendliest nature, and seemed to be delighted when he could amuse the little children who had made a playground of the public square. At times he would please them by making his little dog Dan perform all sorts of curious tricks, or he would tell them quaint stories of the beasts of the field and birds of the air; and frequently he was coaxed into relating the story of his own freedom. The story was brief, but tragical.

        In the year of our Lord 1840, when a negro-speculator of a sportive turn of mind reached the little village

Page 141

of Hillsborough on his way to the Mississippi region, with a caravan of likely negroes of both sexes, he found much to interest him. In that day and at that time there were a number of young men in the village who had not bound themselves over to repentance for the various misdeeds of the flesh. To these young men the negro-speculator (Major Frampton was his name) proceeded to address himself. He was a Virginian, he declared; and, to prove the statement, he referred all the festively inclined young men of Hillsborough to a barrel of peach-brandy in one of his covered wagons. In the minds of these young men there was less doubt in regard to the age and quality of the brandy than there was in regard to the negro-trader's birthplace. Major Frampton might or might not have been born in the Old Dominion--that was a matter for consideration and inquiry--but there could be no question as to the mellow pungency of the peach-brandy.

        In his own estimation, Major Frampton was one of the most accomplished of men. He had summered at the Virginia Springs; he had been to Philadelphia, to Washington, to Richmond, to Lynchburg, and to Charleston, and had accumulated a great deal of experience which he found useful. Hillsborough was hid in the woods of middle Georgia, and its general aspect of innocence impressed him. He looked on the young men who had shown their readiness to test his peach-brandy, as overgrown country boys who needed to be introduced to some of the arts and sciences he had at his command. Thereupon the Major pitched his tents, figuratively speaking, and became, for the time being, a part and parcel of the innocence that characterized Hillsborough. A wiser man would doubtless have made the same mistake.

Page 142

        The little village possessed advantages and seemed to be providentially arranged to fit the various enterprises that Major Frampton had in view. There was the auction-block in front of the stuccoed court-house, if he desired to dispose of a few of his negroes; there was a quarter-track, laid out to his hand and in excellent order, if he chose to enjoy the pleasures of horse-racing; there were secluded pine thickets within easy reach, if he desired to indulge in the exciting pastime of cockfighting; and various lonely and unoccupied rooms in the second story of the tavern, if he cared to challenge the chances of dice or cards.

        Major Frampton tried them all with varying luck, until he began his famous game of poker with Judge Alfred Wellington, a stately gentleman with a flowing white beard and mild blue eyes that gave him the appearance of a benevolent patriarch. The history of the game in which Major Frampton and Judge Alfred Wellington took part is something more than a tradition in Hillsborough, for there are still living three or four who sat around the table and watched its progress. It is said that at various stages of the game Major Frampton would destroy the cards with which they were playing, and send for a new pack, but the result was always the same. The mild blue eyes of Judge Wellington, with few exceptions, continued to overlook "hands" that were invincible--a habit they had acquired during a long and arduous course of training from Saratoga1 to New Orleans. Major Frampton lost his money, his horses, his wagons, and all his negroes but one, his body-servant. When his misfortune had reached this limit, the major adjourned the game. The sun was

        1 A famous watering-place before the war, but not so exclusive now as then.

Page 143

shining brightly, and all nature was cheerful. It is said that the major also seemed to be cheerful. However this may be, he visited the court-house and executed the papers that gave his body-servant his freedom. This being done, Major Frampton sauntered into a convenient pine thicket, and blew out his brains.

        The negro thus freed came to be known as Free Joe. Compelled, under the law, to choose a guardian, he chose Judge Wellington, chiefly because his wife Lucinda was among the negroes won from Major Frampton. For several years Free Joe had what may be called a jovial time. His wife Lucinda was well provided for, and he found it a comparatively easy matter to provide for himself; so that, taking all the circumstances into consideration, it is not matter for astonishment that he became somewhat shiftless.

        When Judge Wellington died, Free Joe's troubles began. The judge's negroes, including Lucinda, went to his half-brother, a man named Calderwood, who was a hard master and a rough customer generally--a man of many eccentricities of mind and character. His neighbors had a habit of alluding to him as "Old Spite"; and the name seemed to fit him so completely that he was known far and near as "Spite" Calderwood. He probably enjoyed the distinction the name gave him, at any rate he never resented it, and it was not often that he missed an opportunity to show that he deserved it. Calderwood's place was two or three miles from the village of Hillsborough, and Free Joe visited his wife twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday nights.

        One Sunday morning he was sitting in front of Lucinda's cabin, when Calderwood happened to pass that way.

        "Howdy, marster?" said Free Joe, taking off his hat.

Page 144

        "Who are you?" exclaimed Calderwood abruptly, halting and staring at the negro.

        "I'm name' Joe, marster, I'm Lucindy's ole man."

        "Who do you belong to?"

        "Marse John Evans is my gyardeen, marster."

        "Big name--gyardeen. Show your pass."

        Free Joe produced the document, and Calderwood read it aloud slowly, as if he found it difficult to get at the meaning:

        "To whom it may concern: This is to certify that the boy Joe Frampton has my permission to visit his wife Lucinda."

        This was dated at Hillsborough, and signed "John W. Evans."

        Calderwood read it twice, and then looked at Free Joe, elevating his eyebrows, and showing his discolored teeth.

        "Some mighty big words in that there. Evans owns this place, I reckon. When's he comin' down to take hold?"

        Free Joe fumbled with his hat. He was badly frightened.

        "Lucindy say she speck you wouldn't min' my comin', long ez I behave, marster."

        Calderwood tore the pass in pieces and flung it away.

        "Don't want no free niggers 'round here," he exclaimed. "There's the big road. It'll carry you to town. Don't let me catch you here no more. Now, mind what I tell you."

        Free Joe presented a shabby spectacle as he moved off with his little dog Dan slinking at his heels. It should be said in behalf of Dan, however, that his bristles were up, and that he looked back and growled. It may be that the dog had the advantage of insignificance,

Page 145

but it is difficult to conceive how a dog bold enough to raise his bristles under Calderwood's very eyes could be as insignificant as Free Joe. But both the negro and his little dog seemed to give a new and more dismal aspect to forlornness as they turned into the road and went toward Hillsborough.

        After this incident Free Joe seemed to have clear ideas concerning his peculiar condition. He realized the fact that though he was free he was more helpless than any slave. Having no owner, every man was his master. He knew that he was the object of suspicion, and therefore all his slender resources (ah! how pitifully slender they were!) were devoted to winning, not kindness and appreciation, but toleration; all his efforts were in the direction of mitigating the circumstances that tended to make his condition so much worse than that of the negroes around him--negroes who had friends because they had masters.

        So far as his own race was concerned, Free Joe was an exile. If the slaves secretly envied him his freedom (which is to be doubted, considering his miserable condition), they openly despised him, and lost no opportunity to treat him with contumely. Perhaps this was in some measure the result of the attitude which Free Joe chose to maintain toward them. No doubt his instinct taught him that to hold himself aloof from the slaves would be to invite from the whites the toleration which he coveted, and without which even his miserable condition would be rendered more miserable still.

        His greatest trouble was the fact that he was not allowed to visit his wife; but he soon found a way out of this difficulty. After he had been ordered away from the Calderwood place, he was in the habit of wandering as far in that direction as prudence would permit.

Page 146

Near the Calderwood place, but not on Calderwood's land, lived an old man named Micajah Staley and his sister Becky Staley. These people were old and very poor. Old Micajah had a palsied arm and hand; but, in spite of this, he managed to earn a precarious living with his turning-lathe.

        When he was a slave Free Joe would have scorned these representatives of a class known as poor white trash, but now he found them sympathetic and helpful in various ways. From the back door of the cabin he could hear the Calderwood negroes singing at night, and he fancied he could distinguish Lucinda's shrill treble rising above the other voices. A large poplar grew in the woods some distance from the Staley cabin, and at the foot of this tree Free Joe would sit for hours with his face turned toward Calderwood's. His little dog Dan would curl up in the leaves near by, and the two seemed to be as comfortable as possible.

        One Saturday afternoon Free Joe, sitting at the foot of this friendly poplar, fell asleep. How long he slept he could not tell; but when he awoke little Dan was licking his face, the moon was shining brightly, and Lucinda his wife stood before him laughing. The dog seeing that Free Joe was asleep, had grown somewhat impatient, and he concluded to make an excursion to the Calderwood place on his own account. Lucinda was inclined to give the incident a twist in the direction of superstition.

        "I'z settin' down front er de fireplace," she said, "cookin' me some meat, w'en all of a sudden I year sumpin at de do'--scratch, scratch. I tuck'n tu'n de meat over, en make out I aint year it. Bimeby it come dar 'gin--scratch, scratch. I up en open de do', I did, en, bless de Lord! dar wuz little Dan, en it look like ter

Page 147

me dat his ribs done grown tergeer. I gin 'im some bread, en den, w'en he start out, I tuck'n foller 'im, kaze I say ter myse'f, maybe my nigger man mought be some 'rs 'roun'. Dat are little dog got sense, mon."

        Free Joe laughed and dropped his hand lightly on Dan's head. For a long time after that, he had no difficulty in seeing his wife. He had only to sit by the poplar tree until little Dan could run and fetch her. But after a while the other negroes discovered that Lucinda was meeting Free Joe in the woods, and information of the fact soon reached Calderwood's ears. He said nothing; but one day he put Lucinda in his buggy, and carried her to Macon, sixty miles away. He carried her to Macon, and came back without her; and nobody in or around Hillsborough, or in that section, ever saw her again.

        For many a night after that Free Joe sat in the woods and waited. Little Dan would run merrily off and be gone a long time, but he always came back without Lucinda. This happened over and over again. The "willis-whistlers" would call and call, like phantom huntsmen wandering on a far-off shore; the screech-owl would shake and shiver in the depths of the woods; the night-hawks, sweeping by on noiseless wings, would snap their beaks as though they enjoyed the huge joke of which Free Joe and little Dan were the victims; and the whip-poor-wills would cry to each other through the gloom. Each night seemed to be lonelier than the preceding, but Free Joe's patience was proof against loneliness. There came a time, however, when little Dan refused to go after Lucinda. When Free Joe motioned him in the direction of the Calderwood place, he would simply move about uneasily and whine; then he would curl up in the leaves and make himself comfortable.

Page 148

        One night, instead of going to the poplar-tree to wait for Lucinda, Free Joe went to the Staley cabin, and, in order to make his welcome good, as he expressed it, he carried with him an armful of fat-pine splinters. Miss Becky Staley had a great reputation in those parts as a fortune-teller, and the school-girls, as well as older people, often tested her powers in that direction, some in jest and some in earnest. Free Joe placed his humble offering of light-wood in the chimney-corner, and then seated himself on the steps, dropping his hat on the ground outside.

        "Miss Becky," he said presently, "whar in de name er gracious you reckon Lucindy is?"

        "Well, the Lord he'p the nigger!" exclaimed Miss Becky, in a tone that seemed to reproduce, by some curious agreement of sight with sound, her general aspect of peakedness. "Well, the Lord he'p the nigger! haint you been a-seein' her all this blessed time? She's over at old Spite Calderwood's, if she's anywhere, I reckon."

        "No'm, dat I aint, Miss Becky. I aint seen Lucindy in now gwine on mighty nigh a mont'."

        "Well, it haint a-gwine to hurt you," said Miss Becky, somewhat sharply. "In my day an' time it wuz allers took to be a bad sign when niggers got to honeyin' 'roun' an' gwine on."

        "Yessum," said Free Joe, cheerfully assenting to the proposition--"yessum, dat's so, but me an' my ole 'oman, we 'uz raise tergeer, en dey aint bin many days w'en we 'uz 'way fum one 'n'er like we is now."

        "Maybe she's up an' took up wi' some un else," said Micajah Staley from the corner. "You know what the sayin' is, 'New master, new nigger.' "

        "Dat's so, dat's de sayin', but taint wid my ole

Page 149

'oman like 'tis wid yuther niggers. Me en her wuz des natally raise up tergeer. Dey's lots likelier niggers dan w'at I is," said Free Joe, viewing his shabbiness with a critical eye, "but I know Lucindy mos' good ez I does little Dan dar--dat I does."

        There was no reply to this, and Free Joe continued--

        "Miss Becky, I wish you please, ma'am, take en run yo' kyards en see sump'n n'er 'bout Lucindy; kaze ef she sick, I'm gwine dar. Dey ken take en take me up en gimme a stroppin', but I'm gwine dar."

        Miss Becky got her cards, but first she picked up a cup, in the bottom of which were some coffee grounds. These she whirled slowly round and round, ending finally by turning the cup upside down on the hearth and allowing it to remain in that position.

        "I'll turn the cup first," said Miss Becky, "and then I'll run the cards and see what they say."

        As she shuffled the cards the fire on the hearth burned slow, and in its fitful light the gray-haired, thin-featured woman seemed to deserve the weird reputation which rumor and gossip had given her. She shuffled the cards for some moments, gazing intently in the dying fire; then, throwing a piece of pine on the coals, she made three divisions of the pack, disposing them about in her lap. Then she took the first pile, ran the cards slowly through her fingers, and studied them carefully. To the first she added the second pile. The study of these was evidently not satisfactory. She said nothing, but frowned heavily; and the frown deepened as she added the rest of the cards until the entire fifty-two had passed in review before her. Though she frowned, she seemed to be deeply interested. Without changing the relative position of the cards, she ran them over again. Then she threw a larger piece of pine on the fire, shuffled the

Page 150

cards afresh, divided them into three piles, and subjected them to the same careful and critical examination.

        "I can't tell the day when I've seed the cards run this a-way," she said after a while. "What is an' what aint, I'll never tell you; but I know what the cards sez."

        "W'at does dey say, Miss Becky?" the negro inquired, in a tone the solemnity of which was heightened by its eagerness.

        "They er runnin' quare. These here that I'm a-lookin' at," said Miss Becky, "they stan' for the past. Them there, they er the present; and the t'others, they er the future. Here's a bundle"--tapping the ace of clubs with her thumb--"an' here's a journey as plain as the nose on a man's face. Here's Lucinda"--

        "Whar she, Miss Becky?"

        "Here she is--the queen of spades."

        Free Joe grinned. The idea seemed to please him immensely.

        "Well, well, well!" he exclaimed. "Ef dat don't beat my time! De queen er spades! W'en Lucindy year dat hit'll tickle 'er, sho'!"

        Miss Becky continued to run the cards back and forth through her fingers.

        "Here's a bundle an' a journey, and here's Lucinda. An' here's ole Spite Calderwood."

        She held the cards toward the negro and touched the king of clubs.

        "De Lord he'p my soul!" exclaimed Free Joe with a chuckle. "De faver's dar. Yesser, dat's him! W'at de matter 'long wid all un um, Miss Becky?"

        The old woman added the second pile of cards to the first, and then the third, still running them through her fingers slowly and critically. By this time the piece of

Page 151

pine in the fireplace had wrapped itself in a mantle of flame, illuminating the cabin and throwing into strange relief the figure of Miss Becky as she sat studying the cards. She frowned ominously at the cards and mumbled a few words to herself. Then she dropped her hands in her lap and gazed once more into the fire. Her shadow danced and capered on the wall and floor behind her, as if, looking over her shoulder into the future, it could behold a rare spectacle. After a while she picked up the cup that had been turned on the hearth. The coffee grounds, shaken around, presented what seemed to be a most intricate map.

        "Here's the journey," said Miss Becky, presently; "here's the big road, here's rivers to cross, here's the bundle to tote." She paused and sighed. "They haint no names writ here, an' what it all means I'll never tell you. Cajy, I wish you'd be so good as to han' me my pipe."

        "I haint no hand wi' the kyards," said Cajy, and he handed the pipe, "but I reckon I can patch out your misinformation, Becky, bekaze the other day, whiles I was a-fishin' up Mizzer Perdue's rolling-pin, I hearn a rattlin' in the road. I looked out, an' Spite Calderwood was a-drivin' by in his buggy, an' thar sot Lucinda by him. It'd in-about drapt out er my min'."

        Free Joe sat on the door-sill and fumbled at his hat, flinging it from one hand to the other.

        "You haint see um gwine back, is you, Marse Cajy?" he asked after a while.

        "Ef they went back by this road," said Mr. Staley, with the air of one who is accustomed to weigh well his words, "it must 'a' bin endurin' of the time whiles I was asleep, bekaze I haint bin no furder from my shop than to yon bed."

        "Well, sir!" exclaimed Free Joe in an awed tone,

Page 152

which Mr. Staley seemed to regard as a tribute to his extraordinary power of statement.

        "Ef it's my beliefs you want," continued the old man, "I'll pitch 'em at you fair and free. My beliefs is that Spite Calderwood is gone an' took Lucindy outen the country. Bless your heart and soul! when Spite Calderwood meets the Old Boy in the road they'll be a turrible scuffle. You mark what I tell you."

        Free Joe, still fumbling with his hat, rose and leaned against the door-facing. He seemed to be embarrassed. Presently he said:

        "I speck I better be gittin' 'long. Nex' time I see Lucindy, I'm gwine tell 'er w'at Miss Becky say 'bout de queen er spades--dat I is. If dat don't tickle 'er, dey aint no nigger 'oman never bin tickle'."

        He paused a moment, as though waiting for some remark or comment, some confirmation of misfortune, or, at the very least, some endorsement of his suggestion that Lucinda would be greatly pleased to know that she had figured as the queen of spades; but neither Miss Becky nor her brother said anything.

        "One minnit ridin' in the buggy 'longside er Mars Spite, en de nex' highfalutin' 'roun' playin' de queen er spades. Mon, deze yer nigger gals gittin' up in de pictur's; dey sholy is."

        With a brief "Good-night, Miss Becky, Mars Cajy," Free Joe went out into the darkness, followed by little Dan. He made his way to the poplar, where Lucinda had been in the habit of meeting him, and sat down. He sat there a long time; he sat there until little Dan, growing restless, trotted off in the direction of the Calderwood place. Dozing against the poplar in the gray dawn of the morning, Free Joe heard Spite Calderwood's fox-hounds in full cry a mile away.

Page 153

        "Shoo!" he exclaimed, scratching his head, and laughing to himself, "dem ar dogs is des a-warmin' dat old fox up."

        But it was Dan the hounds were after, and the little dog came back no more. Free Joe waited and waited, until he grew tired of waiting. He went back the next night and waited, and for many nights thereafter. His waiting was in vain, and yet he never regarded it as in vain. Careless and shabby as he was, Free Joe was thoughtful enough to have his theory. He was convinced that little Dan had found Lucinda, and that some night when the moon was shining brightly through the trees, the dog would rouse him from his dreams as he sat sleeping at the foot of the poplar-tree, and he would open his eyes and behold Lucinda standing over him, laughing merrily as of old; and then he thought what fun they would have about the queen of spades.

        How many long nights Free Joe waited at the foot of the popular-tree for Lucinda and little Dan no one can ever know. He kept no account of them, and they were not recorded by Micajah Staley or by Miss Becky. The season ran into summer and then into fall. One night he went to the Staley cabin, cut the two old people an armful of wood, and seated himself on the door-steps, where he rested. He was always thankful--and proud, as it seemed--when Miss Becky gave him a cup of coffee, which she was sometimes thoughtful enough to do. He was especially thankful on this particular night.

        "You er still layin' off for to strike up wi' Lucindy out thar in the woods, I reckon," said Micajah Staley, smiling grimly. The situation was not without its humorous aspects.

        "Oh, dey er comin', Mars Cajy, dey er comin', sho," Free Joe replied, "I boun' you dey'll come; en w'en

Page 154

dey does come, I'll des takes en fetch um yer, whar you kin see um wid you own eyes, you en Miss Becky."

        "No," said Mr. Staley, with a quick and emphatic gesture of disapproval. "Don't, don't fetch 'em anywheres. Stay right wi' 'em as long as may be."

        Free Joe chuckled, and slipped away into the night, while the two old people sat gazing in the fire. Finally Micajah spoke:

        "Look at that nigger; look at 'im. He's pine-blank as happy now as a killdee by a mill-race. You can't 'feze 'em. I'd in-about give up my t'other hand ef I could stan' flat-footed, an' grin at trouble like that there nigger."

        "Niggers is niggers," said Miss Becky, smiling grimly, "an' you can't rub it out; yet I lay I've seed a heap of white people lots meaner'n Free Joe. He grins,--an' that's nigger,--but I've ketched his under jaw a-trimblin' when Lucindy's name uz brung up. An' I tell you," she went on bridling up a little, and speaking with almost fierce emphasis, "the Old Boy's done sharpened his claws for Spite Calderwood. You'll see it."

        "Me, Rebecca?" said Mr. Staley, hugging his palsied arm; "me? I hope not."

        "Well, you'll know it then," said Miss Becky, laughing heartily at her brother's look of alarm.

        The next morning Micajah Staley had occasion to go into the woods after a piece of timber. He saw Free Joe sitting at the foot of the poplar, and the sight vexed him somewhat.

        "Git up from there," he cried, "an' go an' arn your livin'. A mighty purty pass it's come to, when great big buck niggers can lie a-snorin' in the woods all day, when t'other folks is got to be up an' a-gwine. Git up from there!"

Page 155

        Receiving no response, Mr. Staley went to Free Joe, and shook him by the shoulder; but the negro made no response. He was dead. His hat was off, his head was bent, and a smile was on his face. It was as if he had bowed and smiled when death stood before him, humble to the last. His clothes were ragged; his hands were rough and callous; his shoes were literally tied together with strings; he was shabby in the extreme. A passerby, glancing at him, could have no idea that such a humble creature had been summoned as a witness before the Lord God of Hosts.

Page 156



        IN the first decade of the present century, when the newly established American Government was the most hateful thing in Louisiana--when the Creoles were still kicking at such vile innovations as the trial by jury, American dances, anti-smuggling laws, and the printing of the Governor's proclamation in English--when the Anglo-American flood that was presently to burst in a crevasse of immigration upon the delta had thus far been felt only as slippery seepage which made the Creole tremble for his footing--there stood, a short distance above what is now Canal Street,2 and considerably back from the line of villas which fringed the river-bank on Tchoupitoulas Road, an old colonial plantation-house half in ruin.

        It stood aloof from civilization, the tracts that had once been its indigo fields given over to their first noxious wildness, and grown up into one of the horridest marshes within a circuit of fifty miles.

        The house was of heavy cypress, lifted up on pillars, grim, solid, and spiritless, its massive build a

        1 This story, like most of Mr. Cable's, is significant by reason of its presentation of the passing away of the old Creole civilization in New Orleans, and the beginning of a more modern American life.

        2 In New Orleans.

        From Old Creole Days. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 157

strong reminder of days still earlier, when every man had been his own peace officer and the insurrection of the blacks a daily contingency. Its dark, weather-beaten roof and sides were hoisted up above the jungly plain in a distracted way, like a gigantic ammunition-wagon stuck in the mud and abandoned by some retreating army. Around it was a dense growth of low water willows, with half a hundred sorts of thorny or fetid bushes, savage strangers alike to the "language of flowers" and to the botanist's Greek. They were hung with countless strands of discolored and prickly smilax, and the impassable mud below bristled with chevaux de frise1 of the dwarf palmetto. Two lone forest-trees, dead cypresses, stood in the centre of the marsh, dotted with roosting vultures. The shallow strips of water were hid by myriads of aquatic plants, under whose coarse and spiritless flowers, could one have seen it, was a harbor of reptiles, great and small, to make one shudder to the end of his days.

        The house was on a slightly raised spot, the levee of a draining canal. The waters of this canal did not run; they crawled, and were full of big, ravening fish and alligators, that held it against all comers.

        Such was the home of old Jean Marie Poquelin, once an opulent indigo planter, standing high in the esteem of his small, proud circle of exclusively male acquaintances in the old city; now a hermit, alike shunned by and shunning all who had ever known him. "The last of his line," said the gossips. "His father lies under the floor of the St. Louis Cathedral, with the wife of his youth on one side, and the wife of his old age on

        1 A military defense against cavalry made of bayonet points. Here, the barriers or obstructions produced by the thick growth of the dwarf palmetto.

Page 158

the other. Old Jean visits the spot daily. His half-brother"--alas! there was a mystery; no one knew what had become of the gentle, young half-brother, more than thirty years his junior, whom once he seemed so fondly to love, but who, seven years ago, had disappeared suddenly, once for all, and left no clew of his fate.

        They had seemed to live so happily in each other's love. No father, mother, wife to either, no kindred upon earth. The elder a bold, frank, impetuous, chivalric adventurer; the younger a gentle, studious, book-loving recluse; they lived upon the ancestral estate like mated birds, one always on the wing, the other always in the nest.

        There was no trait in Jean Marie Poquelin, said the old gossips, for which he was so well known among his few friends as his apparent fondness for his "little brother." "Jacques said this," and "Jacques said that"; he "would leave this or that, or anything to Jacques," for "Jacques was a scholar," and "Jacques was good," or "wise," or "just," or "far-sighted," as the nature of the case required; and "he should ask Jacques as soon as he got home," since Jacques was never elsewhere to be seen.

        It was between the roving character of the one brother, and the bookishness of the other, that the estate fell into decay. Jean Marie, generous gentleman, gambled the slaves away one by one, until none was left, man or woman, but one old African mute.

        The indigo-fields and vats of Louisiana had been generally abandoned as unremunerative. Certain enterprising men had substituted the culture of sugar; but while the recluse was too apathetic to take so active a course, the other saw larger, and, at that time,

Page 159

equally respectable profits, first in smuggling, and later in the African slave-trade. What harm could he see in it? The whole people said it was vitally necessary, and to minister to a vital public necessity,--good enough certainly, and so he laid up many a doubloon,1 that made him none the worse in the public regard.

        One day old Jean Marie was about to start upon a voyage that was to be longer, much longer, than any that he had yet made. Jacques had begged him hard for many days not to go, but he laughed him off, and finally said, kissing him:

        "Adieu, 'tit frère."2

        "No," said Jacques, "I shall go with you."

        They left the old hulk of a house in the sole care of the African mute, and went away to the Guinea Coast together.

        Two years after, old Poquelin came home without his vessel. He must have arrived at his house by night. No one saw him come. No one saw "his little brother"; rumor whispered that he, too, had returned, but he had never been seen again.

        A dark suspicion fell upon the old slave-trader. No matter that the few kept the many reminded of the tenderness that had ever marked his bearing to the missing man. The many shook their heads. "You know he has a quick and fearful temper"; and "why does he cover his loss with mystery?" "Grief would out with the truth."

        "But," said the charitable few, "look in his face; see that expression of true humanity." The many did look in his face, and, as he looked in theirs, he read the silent question: "Where is thy brother Abel?"

        1 A Spanish and South American gold coin.

        2 "Good-by, little brother."

Page 160

The few were silenced, his former friends died off, and the name of Jean Marie Poquelin became a symbol of witchery, devilish crime, and hideous nursery fictions.

        The man and his house were alike shunned. The snipe and duck hunters forsook the marsh, and the woodcutters abandoned the canal. Sometimes the hardier boys who ventured out there snake-shooting heard a slow thumping of oar-locks on the canal. They would look at each other for a moment half in consternation, half in glee, then rush from their sport in wanton haste to assail with their gibes the unoffending, withered old man who, in rusty attire, sat in the stern of a skiff, rowed homeward by his white-headed African mute.

        "O Jean-ah Poquelin! O Jean-ah! Jean-ah Poquelin!"

        It was not necessary to utter more than that. No hint of wickedness, deformity, or any physical or moral demerit; merely the name and tone of mockery: "Oh, Jean-ah Poquelin!" and while they tumbled one over another in their needless haste to fly, he would rise carefully from his seat, while the aged mute, with downcast face, went on rowing, and rolling up his brown fist and extending it toward the urchins, would pour forth such an unholy broadside of French imprecation and invective as would all but craze them with delight.

        Among both blacks and whites the house was the object of a thousand superstitions. Every midnight, they affirmed, the feu follet1 came out of the marsh and ran in and out of the rooms, flashing from window to window. The story of some lads, whose words in ordinary statements were worthless, was generally credited, that the night they camped in the woods, rather

        1 Will-o'-the-wisp.

Page 161

than pass the place after dark, they saw, about sunset, every window blood-red, and on each of the four chimneys an owl sitting, which turned his head three times round, and moaned and laughed with a human voice. There was a bottomless well, everybody professed to know, beneath the sill of the big front door under the rotten veranda; whoever set his foot upon that threshold disappeared forever in the depth below.

        What wonder the marsh grew as wild as Africa! Take all the Faubourg Ste. Marie, and half the ancient city, you would not find one graceless dare-devil reckless enough to pass within a hundred yards of the house after nightfall.

        The alien races pouring into old New Orleans began to find the few streets named for the Bourbon princes too strait for them. The wheel of fortune, beginning to whirl, threw them off beyond the ancient corporation lines, and sowed civilization and even trade upon the lands of the Graviers and Girods. Fields became roads, roads streets. Everywhere the leveller was peering through his glass, rodsmen were whacking their way through willow-brakes and rose-hedges, and the sweating Irishmen tossed the blue clay up with their long-handled shovels.

        "Ha! that is all very well," quoth the Jean-Baptistes, feeling the reproach of an enterprise that asked neither co-operation nor advice of them, "but wait till they come yonder to Jean Poquelin's marsh; ha! ha! ha!" The supposed predicament so delighted them, that they put on a mock terror and whirled about in an assumed stampede, then caught their clasped hands between their knees in excess of mirth, and laughed till the tears ran; for whether the street-makers mired in the

Page 162

marsh, or contrived to cut through old "Jean-ah's" property, either event would be joyful. Meantime a line of tiny rods, with bits of white paper in their split tops, gradually extended its way straight through the haunted ground, and across the canal diagonally.

        "We shall fill that ditch," said the men in mud-boots, and brushed close along the chained and padlocked gate of the haunted mansion. Ah, Jean-ah Poquelin, those were not Creole boys, to be stampeded with a little hard swearing.

        He went to the Governor. That official scanned the odd figure with no slight interest. Jean Poquelin was of short, broad frame, with a bronzed leonine face. His brow was ample and deeply furrowed. His eye, large and black, was bold and open like that of a war-horse, and his jaws shut together with the firmness of iron. He was dressed in a suit of Attakapas cottonade, and his shirt, unbuttoned and thrown back from the throat and bosom, sailor-wise, showed a herculean breast, hard and grizzled. There was no fierceness or defiance in his look, no harsh ungentleness, no symptom of his unlawful life or violent temper; but rather a peaceful and peaceable fearlessness. Across the whole face, not marked in one or another feature, but as it were laid softly upon the countenance like an almost imperceptible veil, was the imprint of some great grief. A careless eye might easily overlook it, but, once seen, there it hung--faint, but unmistakable.

        The Governor bowed.

        "Parlez-vous francais?"1 asked the figure.

        "I would rather talk English, if you can do so," said the Governor.

        "My name, Jean Poquelin."

        1 "Do you speak French?"

Page 163

        "How can I serve you, Mr. Poquelin?"

        "My 'ouse is yond'; dans le marais là-bas."1

        The Governor bowed.

        "Dat marais billong to me."

        "Yes, sir."

        "To me; Jean Poquelin; I hown 'im meself."

        "Well, sir?"

        "He don't billong to you; I get him from me father."

        "That is perfectly true, Mr. Poquelin, as far as I am aware."

        "You want to make strit pass yond'?"

        "I do not know, sir; it is quite probable; but the city will indemnify you for any loss you may suffer--you will get paid, you understand."

        "Strit can't pass dare."

        "You will have to see the municipal authorities about that, Mr. Poquelin."

        A bitter smile came upon the old man's face:

        "Pardon, Monsieur, you is not le Gouverneur?"


        "Mais, yes. You har' le Gouverneur--yes. Vehwell. I come to you. I tell you, strit can't pass at me 'ouse."

        "But you will have to see--"

        "I come to you. You is le Gouverneur. I know not the new laws. I ham a Fr-r-rench-a-man! Fr-rench-a-man have something aller au contraire2--he come at his Gouverneur. I come at you. If me not had been bought from me king like bossals3 in the hold time, ze king gof--France would-a-show Monsieur le Gouverneur to take care his men to make strit

        1 "Down there in the marsh."

        2 To oppose or speak against.

        3 Vassals, slaves.

Page 164

in right places. Mais, I know; we billong to Monsieur le Président. I want you do somesin for me, eh?"

        "What is it?" asked the patient Governor.

        "I want you tell Monsieur le Président, strit--can't--pass--at--me--'ouse."

        "Have a chair, Mr. Poquelin"; but the old man did not stir. The Governor took a quill and wrote a line to a city official, introducing Mr. Poquelin, and asking for him every possible courtesy. He handed it to him, instructing him where to present it.

        "Mr. Poquelin," he said with a conciliatory smile, "tell me, is it your house that our Creole citizens tell such odd stories about?"

        The old man glared sternly upon the speaker, and with immovable features said:

        "You don't see me trade some Guinea nigga'?"

        "Oh, no."

        "You don't see me make some smugglin'?"

        "No, sir; not at all."

        "But, I am Jean Marie Poquelin. I mine me hown bizniss. Dat all right? Adieu."

        He put his hat on and withdrew. By and by he stood, letter in hand, before the person to whom it was addressed. This person employed an interpreter.

        "He says," said the interpreter to the officer, "he come to make you the fair warning how you muz not make the street pas' at his 'ouse."

        The officer remarked that "such impudence was refreshing"; but the experienced interpreter translated freely.

        "He says: 'Why you don't want?'" said the interpreter.

        The old slave-trader answered at some length.

        "He says," said the interpreter, again turning to

Page 165

the officer, "the marass is a too unhealth' for people' to live."

        "But we expect to drain his old marsh; it's not going to be a marsh."

        "Il dit"1-- The interpreter explained in French.

        The old man answered tersely.

        "He says the canal is a private," said the interpreter.

        "Oh! that old ditch; that's to be filled up. Tell the old man we're going to fix him up nicely."

        Translation being duly made, the man in power was amused to see a thunder-cloud gathering on the old man's face.

        "Tell him," he added, "by the time we finish, there'll not be a ghost left in his shanty."

        The interpreter began to translate, but--

        "J' comprends, J' comprends,"2 said the old man, with an impatient gesture, and burst forth, pouring curses upon the United States, the President, the Territory of Orleans, Congress, the Governor and all his subordinates, striding out of the apartment as he cursed, while the object of his maledictions roared with merriment and rammed the floor with his foot.

        "Why, it will make his old place worth ten dollars to one," said the official to the interpreter.

        " 'Tis not for de worse of de property," said the interpreter.

        "I should guess not," said the other, whittling his chair,--"seems to me as if some of these old Creoles would liever live in a crawfish hole than to have a neighbor."

        "You know what make old Jean Poquelin make like that? I will tell you. You know--"

        1 "He says"--

        2 "I understand, I understand."

Page 166

        The interpreter was rolling a cigarette, and paused to light his tinder; then, as the smoke poured in a thick double stream from his nostrils, he said, in a solemn whisper:

        "He is a witch."

        "Ho, ho, ho!" laughed the other.

        "You don't believe it? What you want to bet?" cried the interpreter, jerking himself half up and thrusting out one arm while he bared it of its coat sleeve with the hand of the other. "What you want to bet?"

        "How do you know?" asked the official.

        "Dass what I goin' to tell you. You know, one evening I was shooting some grosbec.1 I killed three; but I had trouble to fine them, it was becoming so dark. When I have them I start' to come home; then I got to pas' at Jean Poquelin's house."

        "Ho, ho, ho!" laughed the other, throwing his leg over the arm of his chair.

        "Wait," said the interpreter. "I come along slow, not making some noises; still, still--"

        "And scared," said the smiling one.

        "Mais, wait. I get all pas' the 'ouse. 'Ah!' I say; 'all right!' Then I see two thing' before! Hah! I get as cold and humide, and shake like a leaf. You think it was nothing? There I see, so plain as can be (though it was making nearly dark), I see Jean-- Marie--Po-que-lin walkin' right in front, and right there beside of him was something like a man--but not a man--white like paint!--I dropp' on the grass from scared--they pass'; so sure as I live 'twas the ghos' of Jacques Poquelin, his brother!"

        "Pooh!" said the listener.

        1 A species of finch known as the grosbeak.

Page 167

        "I'll put my han' in the fire," said the interpreter.

        "But did you never think," asked the other, "that that might be Jack Poquelin, as you call him, alive and well, and for some cause hid away by his brother?"

        "But there har' no cause!" said the other, and the entrance of third parties changed the subject.

        Some months passed and the street was opened. A canal was first dug through the marsh, the small one which passed so close to Jean Poquelin's house was filled, and the street, or rather a sunny road, just touched a corner of the old mansion's dooryard. The morass ran dry. Its venomous denizens slipped away through the bulrushes; the cattle roaming freely upon its hardened surface trampled the superabundant undergrowth. The bellowing frogs croaked to westward. Lilies and the flower-de-luce sprang up in the place of reeds; smilax and poison-oak gave way to the purple-plumed iron-weed and pink spiderwort; the bindweeds ran everywhere blooming as they ran, and on one of the dead cypresses a giant creeper hung its green burden of foliage and lifted its scarlet trumpets. Sparrows and red-birds flitted through the bushes, and dewberries grew ripe beneath. Over all these came a sweet, dry smell of salubrity which the place had not known since the sediments of the Mississippi first lifted it from the sea.

        But its owner did not build. Over the willow-brakes, and down the vista of the open street, bright new houses, some singly, some by ranks, were prying in upon the old man's privacy. They even settled down toward his southern side. First a wood-cutter's hut or two, then a market gardener's shanty, then a painted cottage, and all at once the faubourg1 had

        1 Suburb.

Page 168

flanked and half surrounded him and his dried-up marsh.

        Ah! then the common people began to hate him. "The old tyrant!" "You don't mean an old tyrant?" "Well, then, why don't he build when the public need demands it? What does he live in that unneighborly way for?" "The old pirate!" "The old kidnapper!" How easily even the most ultra Louisianians put on the imported virtues of the North when they could be brought to bear against the hermit. "There he goes, with the boys after him! Ah! ha! ha! Jean-ah Poquelin! Ah! Jean-ah! Aha! aha! Jean-ah Marie! Jean-ah Poquelin! The old villain!" How merrily the swarming Américains echo the spirit of persecution! "The old fraud," they say--"pretends to live in a haunted house, does he? We'll tar and feather him some day. Guess we can fix him."

        He cannot be rowed home along the old canal now; he walks. He has broken sadly of late, and the street urchins are ever at his heels. It is like the days when they cried: "Go up, thou bald-head," and the old man now and then turns and delivers ineffectual curses.

        To the Creoles--to the incoming lower class of superstitious Germans, Irish, Sicilians, and others--he became an omen and embodiment of public and private ill-fortune. Upon him all the vagaries of their superstitions gathered and grew. If a house caught fire, it was imputed to his machinations. Did a woman go off in a fit, he had bewitched her. Did a child stray off for an hour, the mother shivered with the apprehension that Jean Poquelin had offered him to strange gods. The house was the subject of every bad boy's invention who loved to contrive ghostly lies. "As long as that house stands we shall have bad luck.

Page 169

Do you not see our pease and beans dying, our cabbages and lettuce going to seed and our gardens turning to dust, while every day you can see it raining in the woods? The rain will never pass old Poquelin's house. He keeps a fetich. He has conjured the whole Faubourg Ste. Marie. And why, the old wretch? Simply because our playful and innocent children call after him as he passes."

        A "Building and Improvement Company," which had not yet got its charter, "but was going to," and which had not, indeed, any tangible capital yet, but "was going to have some," joined the "Jean-ah Poquelin" war. The haunted property would be such a capital site for a market-house! They sent a deputation to the old mansion to ask its occupant to sell. The deputation never got beyond the chained gate and a very barren interview with the African mute. The President of the Board was then empowered (for he had studied French in Pennsylvania and was considered qualified) to call and persuade M. Poquelin to subscribe to the company's stock; but--

        "Fact is, gentlemen," he said at the next meeting, "it would take us at least twelve months to make Mr. Pokaleen understand the rather original features of our system, and he wouldn't subscribe when we'd done; besides, the only way to see him is to stop him on the street."

        There was a great laugh from the Board; they couldn't help it. "Better meet a bear robbed of her whelps," said one.

        "You're mistaken as to that," said the President. "I did meet him, and stopped him, and found him quite polite. But I could get no satisfaction from him; the fellow wouldn't talk in French, and when I

Page 170

spoke in English he hoisted his old shoulders up, and gave the same answer to everything I said."

        "And that was--?" asked one or two, impatient of the cause.

        "That it 'don't worse w'ile.' "

        One of the Board said: "Mr. President, this market-house project, as I take it, is not altogether a selfish one; the community is to be benefited by it. We may feel that we are working in the public interest [the Board smiled knowingly], if we employ all possible means to oust this old nuisance from among us. You may know that at the time the street was cut through, this old Poquelann did all he could to prevent it. It was owing to a certain connection which I had with that affair that I heard a ghost story [smiles, followed by a sudden dignified check]--ghost story, which, of course, I am not going to relate; but I may say that my profound conviction, arising from a prolonged study of that story, is, that this old villain, John Poquelann, has his brother locked up in that old house. Now, if this is so, and we can fix it on him, I merely suggest that we can make the matter highly useful. I don't know," he added, beginning to sit down, "but that it is an action we owe to the community--hem!"

        "How do you propose to handle the subject?" asked the President.

        "I was thinking," said the speaker, "that, as a Board of Directors, it would be unadvisable for us to authorize any action involving trespass; but if you, for instance, Mr. President, should, as it were, for mere curiosity, request some one, as, for instance, our excellent Secretary, simply as a personal favor, to look into the matter--this is merely a suggestion."

        The Secretary smiled sufficiently to be understood

Page 171

that, while he certainly did not consider such preposterous service a part of his duties as secretary, he might, notwithstanding, accede to the President's request; and the Board adjourned.

        Little White, as the Secretary was called, was a mild, kind-hearted little man, who, nevertheless, had no fear of anything, unless it was the fear of being unkind.

        "I tell you frankly," he privately said to the President, "I go into this purely for reasons of my own."

        The next day, a little after nightfall, one might have descried this little man slipping along the rear fence of the Poquelin place, preparatory to vaulting over into the rank, grass-grown yard, and bearing himself altogether more after the manner of a collector of rare chickens than according to the usage of secretaries.

        The picture presented to his eye was not calculated to enliven his mind. The old mansion stood out against the western sky, black and silent. One long, lurid pencil-stroke along a sky of slate was all that was left of daylight. No sign of life was apparent; no light at any window, unless it might have been on the side of the house hidden from view. No owls were on the chimneys, no dogs were in the yard.

        He entered the place, and ventured up behind a small cabin which stood apart from the house. Through one of its many crannies he easily detected the African mute crouched before a flickering pine-knot, his head on his knees, fast asleep.

        He concluded to enter the mansion, and, with that view, stood and scanned it. The broad rear steps of the veranda would not serve him; he might meet some one midway. He was measuring, with his eye, the proportions of one of the pillars which supported it,

Page 172

and estimating the practicability of climbing it, when he heard a footstep. Some one dragged a chair out toward the railing, then seemed to change his mind and began to pace the veranda, his footfalls resounding on the dry boards with singular loudness. Little White drew a step backward, got the figure between himself and the sky, and at once recognized the short, broad-shouldered form of old Jean Poquelin.

        He sat down upon a billet of wood, and, to escape the stings of a whining cloud of mosquitoes, shrouded his face and neck in his handkerchief, leaving his eyes uncovered.

        He had sat there but a moment when he noticed a strange, sickening odor, faint, as if coming from a distance, but loathsome and horrid.

        Whence could it come? Not from the cabin; not from the marsh, for it was as dry as powder. It was not in the air; it seemed to come from the ground.

        Rising up, he noticed, for the first time, a few steps before him a narrow footpath leading toward the house. He glanced down it--ha! right there was some one coming--ghostly white!

        Quick as thought, and as noiselessly, he lay down at full length against the cabin. It was bold strategy, and yet, there was no denying it, little White felt that he was frightened. "It is not a ghost," he said to himself. "I know it cannot be a ghost"; but the perspiration burst out at every pore, and the air seemed to thicken with heat. "It is a living man," he said in his thoughts. "I hear his footstep, and I hear old Poquelin's footsteps, too, separately, over on the veranda. I am not discovered; the thing has passed; there is that odor again; what a smell of death! Is it coming back? Yes. It stops at the door of the cabin.

Page 173

Is it peering in at the sleeping mute? It moves away. It is in the path again. Now it is gone." He shuddered. "Now, if I dare venture, the mystery is solved." He rose cautiously, close against the cabin, and peered along the path.

        The figure of a man, a presence if not a body--but whether clad in some white stuff or naked the darkness would not allow him to determine--had turned, and now, with a seeming painful gait, moved slowly from him. "Great Heaven! can it be that the dead do walk?" He withdrew again the hands which had gone to his eyes. The dreadful object passed between two pillars and under the house. He listened. There was a faint sound as of feet upon a staircase; then all was still except the measured tread of Jean Poquelin walking on the veranda, and the heavy respirations of the mute slumbering in the cabin.

        The little Secretary was about to retreat, but as he looked once more toward the haunted house a dim light appeared in the crack of a closed window, and presently old Jean Poquelin came, dragging his chair, and sat down close against the shining cranny. He spoke in a low, tender tone in the French tongue, making some inquiry. An answer came from within. Was it the voice of a human? So unnatural was it--so hollow, so discordant, so unearthly--that the stealthy listener shuddered again from head to foot, and when something stirred in some bushes near by--though it may have been nothing more than a rat--and came scuttling through the grass, the little Secretary actually turned and fled. As he left the enclosure he moved with bolder leisure through the bushes; yet now and then he spoke aloud: "Oh, oh! I see, I understand!" and shut his eyes in his hands.

Page 174

        How strange that henceforth little White was the champion of Jean Poquelin! In season and out of season--wherever a word was uttered against him--the Secretary, with a quiet, aggressive force that instantly arrested gossip, demanded upon what authority the statement or conjecture was made; but as he did not condescend to explain his own remarkable attitude, it was not long before the disrelish and suspicion which had followed Jean Poquelin so many years fell also upon him.

        It was only the next evening but one after his adventure that he made himself a source of sullen amazement to one hundred and fifty boys, by ordering them to desist from their wanton hallooing. Old Jean Poquelin, standing and shaking his cane, rolling out his long-drawn maledictions, paused and stared, then gave the Secretary a courteous bow and started on. The boys, save one, from pure astonishment, ceased; but a ruffianly little Irish lad, more daring than any had yet been, threw a big hurtling clod, that struck old Poquelin between the shoulders and burst like a shell. The enraged old man wheeled with uplifted staff to give chase to the scampering vagabond; and--he may have tripped, or he may not, but he fell full length. Little White hastened to help him up, but he waved him off with a fierce imprecation and staggering to his feet resumed his way homeward. His lips were reddened with blood.

        Little White was on his way to the meeting of the Board. He would have given all he dared spend to have stayed away, for he felt both too fierce and too tremulous to brook the criticisms that were likely to be made.

        "I can't help it, gentlemen; I can't help you to make a case against the old man, and I'm not going to."

Page 175

        "We did not expect this disappointment, Mr. White."

        "I can't help that, sir. No, sir; you had better not appoint any more investigations. Somebody'll investigate himself into trouble. No, sir; it isn't a threat, it is only my advice, but I warn you that whoever takes the task in hand will rue it to his dying day--which may be hastened, too."

        The President expressed himself "surprised."

        "I don't care a rush," answered little White, wildly and foolishly. "I don't care a rush if you are, sir. No, my nerves are not disordered; my head's as clear as a bell. No, I'm not excited."

        A Director remarked that the Secretary looked as though he had waked from a nightmare.

        "Well, sir, if you want to know the fact, I have; and if you choose to cultivate old Poquelin's society you can have one, too."

        "White," called a facetious member, but White did not notice. "White," he called again.

        "What?" demanded White, with a scowl.

        "Did you see the ghost?"

        "Yes, sir; I did," cried White, hitting the table, and handing the President a paper which brought the Board to other business.

        The story got among the gossips that somebody (they were afraid to say little White) had been to the Poquelin mansion by night and beheld something appalling. The rumor was but a shadow of the truth, magnified and distorted as is the manner of shadows. He had seen skeletons walking, and had barely escaped the clutches of one by making the sign of the cross.

        Some madcap boys with an appetite for the horrible plucked up courage to venture through the dried marsh by the cattle-path, and come before the house at a

Page 176

spectral hour when the air was full of bats. Something which they but half saw--half a sight was enough--sent them tearing back through the willow-brakes and acacia bushes to their homes, where they fairly dropped down, and cried.

        "Was it white?" "No--yes--nearly so--we can't tell--but we saw it." And one could hardly doubt, to look at their ashen faces, that they had, whatever it was.

        "If that old rascal lived in the country we come from," said certain Américains, "he'd have been tarred and feathered before now, wouldn't he, Sanders?"

        "Well, now he just would."

        "And we'd have rid him on a rail, wouldn't we?"

        "That's what I allow."

        "Tell you what you could do." They were talking to some rollicking Creoles who had assumed an absolute necessity for doing something. "What is it you call this thing where an old man marries a young girl, and you come out with horns and--"

        "Charivari?" asked the Creoles.

        "Yes, that's it. Why don't you shivaree him?" Felicitous suggestion.

        Little White, with his wife beside him, was sitting on their doorsteps on the sidewalk, as Creole custom had taught them, looking toward the sunset. They had moved into the lately opened street. The view was not attractive on the score of beauty. The houses were small and scattered, and across the flat commons, spite of the lofty tangle of weeds and bushes, and spite of the thickets of acacia, they needs must see the dismal old Poquelin mansion, tilted awry and shutting out the declining sun. The moon, white and slender, was hanging the tip of its horn over one of the chimneys.

Page 177

        "And you say," said the Secretary, "the old black man has been going by here alone? Patty, suppose old Poquelin should be concocting some mischief; he don't lack provocation; the way that clod hit him the other day was enough to have killed him. Why, Patty, he dropped as quick as that! No wonder you haven't seen him. I wonder if they haven't heard something about him up at the drug-store. Suppose I go and see."

        "Do," said his wife.

        She sat alone for half an hour, watching that sudden going out of the day peculiar to the latitude.

        "That moon is ghost enough for one house," she said, as her husband returned. "It has gone right down the chimney."

        "Patty," said little White, "the drug-clerk says the boys are going to shivaree old Poquelin to-night. I'm going to try to stop it."

        "Why, White," said his wife, "you'd better not. You'll get hurt."

        "No, I'll not."

        "Yes, you will."

        "I'm going to sit out here until they come along. They're compelled to pass right by here."

        "Why, White, it may be midnight before they start; you're not going to sit out here till then."

        "Yes, I am."

        "Well, you're very foolish," said Mrs. White in an undertone, looking anxious, and tapping one of the steps with her foot.

        They sat a very long time talking over little family matters.

        "What's that?" at last said Mrs. White.

        "That's the nine-o'clock gun," said White, and they relapsed into a long-sustained, drowsy silence.

Page 178

        "Patty, you'd better go in and go to bed," said he at last.

        "I'm not sleepy."

        "Well, you're very foolish," quietly remarked little White, and again silence fell upon them.

        "Patty, suppose I walk out to the old house and see if I can find out anything."

        "Suppose," said she, "you don't do any such--listen!"

        Down the street arose a great hubbub. Dogs and boys were howling and barking; men were laughing, shouting, groaning, and blowing horns, whooping, and clanking cow-bells, whinnying, and howling, and rattling pots and pans.

        "They are coming this way," said little White. "You had better go into the house, Patty."

        "So had you."

        "No. I'm going to see if I can't stop them."

        "Why, White!"

        "I'll be back in a minute," said White, and went toward the noise.

        In a few moments the little Secretary met the mob. The pen hesitates on the word, for there is a respectable difference, measurable only on the scale of the half century, between a mob and a charivari. Little White lifted his ineffectual voice. He faced the head of the disorderly column, and cast himself about as if he were made of wood and moved by the jerk of a string. He rushed to one who seemed, from the size and clatter of his tin pan, to be a leader. "Stop these fellows, Bienvenu, stop them just a minute, till I tell them something." Bienvenu turned and brandished his instruments of discord in an imploring way to the crowd. They slackened their pace, two or three hushed their

Page 179

horns and joined the prayer of little White and Bienvenu for silence. The throng halted. The hush was delicious.

        "Bienvenu," said little White, "don't shivaree old Poquelin to-night; he's--"

        "My fwang," said the swaying Bienvenu, "who tail you I goin' to chahivahi somebody, eh? You sink bickause I make a little playfool wiz zis tin pan zat I am dhonk?"

        "Oh, no, Bienvenu, old fellow, you're all right. I was afraid you might not know that old Poquelin was sick, you know, but you're not going there, are you?"

        "My fwang, I vay soy to tail you zat you ah dhonk as de dev'. I am shem of you. I ham ze servan' of ze publique. Zese citoyens goin' to wickwest Jean Poquelin to give to the Ursuline' two hondred fifty dolla'--"

        "He quoi!" cried a listener, "cinq cent piastres,1 oui!"

        "Oui!" said Bienvenu, "and if he wiffuse we make him some lit' musique; ta-ra ta!" He hoisted a merry hand and foot, then frowning, added: "Old Poquelin got no bizniz dhink s'much w'isky."

        "But, gentlemen," said little White, around whom a circle had gathered, "the old man is very sick."

        "My faith!" cried a tiny Creole, "we did not make him to be sick. W'en we have say we going make le charivari, do you want that we shall tell a lie? My faith! 'sfools!"

        "But you can shivaree somebody else," said desperate little White.

        1 "Five hundred piasters." A piaster is a silver coin of various countries, here representing about a dollar.

Page 180

        "Oui!" cried Bienvenu, "et chahivahi Jean-ah Poquelin tomo'w!"

        "Let us go to Madame Schneider!" cried two or three, and amid huzzas and confused cries, among which was heard a stentorian Celtic call for drinks, the crowd again began to move.

        "Cent piastres pour l'hôpital de charité!"1


        "One hongred dolla' for Charity Hospital!"


        "Whang!" went a tin pan, the crowd yelled, and Pandemonium gaped again. They were off at a right angle.

        Nodding, Mrs. White looked at the mantel-clock.

        "Well, if it isn't away after midnight."

        The hideous noise down street was passing beyond earshot. She raised a sash and listened. For a moment there was silence. Some one came to the door.

        "Is that you, White?"

        "Yes." He entered. "I succeeded, Patty."

        "Did you?" said Patty, joyfully.

        "Yes. They've gone down to shivaree the old Dutchwoman who married her step-daughter's sweetheart. They say she has got to pay a hundred dollars to the hospital before they stop."

        The couple retired, and Mrs. White slumbered. She was awakened by her husband snapping the lid of his watch.

        "What time?" she asked.

        "Half-past three. Patty, I haven't slept a wink. Those fellows are out yet. Don't you hear them?"

        "Why, White, they're coming this way!"

        "I know they are," said White, sliding out of bed

        1 "A hundred piasters for the Charity Hospital."

Page 181

and drawing on his clothes, "and they're coming fast. You'd better go away from that window, Patty. My! what a clatter!"

        "Here they are," said Mrs. White, but her husband was gone. Two or three hundred men and boys pass the place at a rapid walk straight down the broad, new street, toward the hated house of ghosts. The din was terrific. She saw little White at the head of the rabble brandishing his arms and trying in vain to make himself heard; but they only shook their heads, laughing and hooting the louder, and so passed, bearing him on before them.

        Swiftly they pass out from among the houses, away from the dim oil lamps of the street, out into the broad starlit commons, and enter the willowy jungles of the haunted ground. Some hearts fail and their owners lag behind and turn back, suddenly remembering how near morning it is. But the most part push on, tearing the air with their clamor.

        Down ahead of them in the long, thicket-darkened way there is--singularly enough--a faint, dancing light. It must be very near the old house; it is. It has stopped now. It is a lantern, and is under a well-known sapling which has grown up on the wayside since the canal was filled. Now it swings mysteriously to and fro. A goodly number of the more ghost-fearing give up the sport; but a full hundred move forward at a run, doubling their devilish howling and banging.

        Yes; it is a lantern, and there are two persons under the tree. The crowd draws near--drops into a walk; one of the two is the old African mute; he lifts the lantern up so that it shines on the other; the crowd recoils; there is a hush of all clangor, and all at once, with a cry of mingled fright and horror from every

Page 182

throat, the whole throng rushes back, dropping everything, sweeping past little White and hurrying on, never stopping until the jungle is left behind, and then to find that not one in ten has seen the cause of the stampede, and not one of the tenth is certain what it was.

        There is one huge fellow among them who looks capable of any villany. He finds something to mount on, and, in the Creole patois, calls a general halt. Bienvenu sinks down, and, vainly trying to recline gracefully, resigns the leadership. The herd gather round the speaker; he assures them that they have been outraged. Their right peaceably to traverse the public streets has been trampled upon. Shall such encroachments be endured? It is now daybreak. Let them go now by the open light of day and force a free passage of the public highway!

        A scattering consent was the response, and the crowd, thinned now and drowsy, straggled quietly down toward the old house. Some drifted ahead, others sauntered behind, but every one, as he again neared the tree, came to a stand-still. Little White sat upon a bank of turf on the opposite side of the way looking very stern and sad. To each new-comer he put the same question:

        "Did you come here to go to old Poquelin's?"


        "He's dead." And if the shocked hearer started away he would say: "Don't go away."

        "Why not?"

        "I want you to go to the funeral presently."

        If some Louisianian, too loyal to dear France or Spain to understand English, looked bewildered, some one would interpret for him; and presently they went. Little White led the van, the crowd trooping after him

Page 183

down the middle of the way. The gate, that had never been seen before unchained, was open. Stern little White stopped a short distance from it; the rabble stopped behind him. Something was moving out from under the veranda. The many whisperers stretched upward to see. The African mute came very slowly toward the gate, leading by a cord in the nose a small brown bull, which was harnessed to a rude cart. On the flat body of the cart, under a black cloth, were seen the outlines of a long box.

        "Hats off, gentlemen," said little White, as the box came in view, and the crowd silently uncovered.

        "Gentlemen," said little White, "here come the last remains of Jean Marie Poquelin, a better man, I'm afraid, with all his sins,--yes, a better--a kinder man to his blood--a man of more self-forgetful goodness--than all of you put together will ever dare to be."

        There was a profound hush as the vehicle came creaking through the gate; but when it turned away from them toward the forest, those in front started suddenly. There was a backward rush, then all stood still again staring one way; for there, behind the bier, with eyes cast down and labored step, walked the living remains--all that was left--of little Jacques Poquelin, the long-hidden brother--a leper, as white as snow.

        Dumb with horror, the cringing crowd gazed upon the walking death. They watched, in silent awe, the slow cortége1 creep down the long, straight road and lessen on the view, until by and by it stopped where a wild, unfrequented path branched off into the undergrowth toward the rear of the ancient city.

        "They are going to the Terre aux Lépreux,"2 said one in the crowd.The rest watched them in silence.

        1 Funeral train.

        2 Leper's Land.

Page 184

        The little bull was set free; the mute, with the strength of an ape, lifted the long box to his shoulder. For a moment more the mute and the leper stood in sight, while the former adjusted his heavy burden; then, without one backward glance upon the unkind human world, turning their faces toward the ridge in the depths of the swamp known as the Leper's Land, they stepped into the jungle, disappeared, and were never seen again.

Page 185



        BY degrees the whole story was told Chad that night. Now and then the Turners would ask him about his stay in the Bluegrass, but the boy would answer as briefly as possible and come back to Jack. Before going to bed, Chad said he would bring Jack into the house:

        "Somebody might pizen him," he explained, and when he came back, he startled the circle about the fire:

        "Whar's Whizzer?" he asked, sharply. "Who's seen Whizzer?"

        Then it developed that no one had seen the Dillon dog--since the day before the sheep was found dead near a ravine at the foot of the mountain in a back pasture. Late that afternoon Melissa had found Whizzer in that very pasture when she was driving old Betsy, the brindle, home at milking-time. Since then, no one

        1 The central figure in The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come is Chad, a little mountain waif, who, ignorant of his own parentage and left homeless by his former protector, hurries down the mountain with his dog Jack, in order to escape being bound to a cruel master. Jack, who has been given him by a passing trader, is his only friend. Farther down the mountain slope he is taken in by the Turner family, who become equally devoted to Chad and Jack. The Turners live in a mountain cabin near the river of Kingdom Come.

        From The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 186

of the Turners had seen the Dillon dog. That, however, did not prove that Whizzer was not at home. And yet,

        "I'd like to know whar Whizzer is now!" said Chad, and, after, at old Joel's command, he had tied Jack to a bedpost--an outrage that puzzled the dog sorely--the boy threshed his bed for an hour--trying to think out a defence for Jack and wondering if Whizzer might not have been concerned in the death of the sheep.

        It is hardly possible that what happened, next day, could happen anywhere except among simple people of the hills. Briefly, the old Squire and the circuit-rider had brought old Joel to the point of saying, the night before, that he would give Jack up to be killed, if he could be proven guilty. But the old hunter cried with an oath:

        "You've got to prove him guilty." And thereupon the Squire said he would give Jack every chance that he would give a man--he would try him; each side could bring in witnesses; old Joel could have a lawyer if he wished, and Jack's case would go before a jury. If pronounced innocent, Jack should go free: if guilty--then the dog should be handed over to the sheriff, to be shot at sundown. Joel agreed.

        It was a strange procession that left the gate of the Turner cabin next morning. Old Joel led the way, mounted, with "ole Sal," his rifle, across his saddle-bow. Behind him came Mother Turner and Melissa on foot and Chad with his rifle over his left shoulder, and leading Jack by a string with his right hand. Behind them slouched Tall Tom with his rifle and Dolph and Rube, each with a huge old-fashioned horse-pistol swinging from his right hip. Last strode the school-master. The cabin was left deserted--the hospitable

Page 187

door held closed by a deer-skin latch caught to a wooden pin outside.

        It was a strange humiliation to Jack thus to be led along the highway, like a criminal going to the gallows. There was no power on earth that could have moved him from Chad's side, other than the boy's own command--but old Joel had sworn that he would keep the dog tied and the old hunter always kept his word. He had sworn, too, that Jack should have a fair trial. Therefore, the guns--and the school-master walked with his hands behind him and his eyes on the ground: he feared trouble.

        Half a mile up the river and to one side of the road a space of some thirty feet square had been cut into a patch of rhododendron and filled with rude benches of slabs--in front of which was a rough platform on which sat a home-made, cane-bottomed chair. Except for the opening from the road, the space was walled with a circle of living green through which the sun dappled the benches with quivering disks of yellow light--and, high above, great poplars and oaks arched their mighty heads. It was an open-air "meeting-house" where the circuit-rider preached during his summer circuit and there the trial was to take place.

        Already a crowd was idling, whittling, gossiping in the road, when the Turner cavalcade came in sight--and for ten miles up and down the river people were coming in for the trial.

        "Mornin', gentlemen," said old Joel, gravely.

        "Mornin'," answered several, among whom was the Squire, who eyed Joel's gun and the guns coming up the road.

        "Squirrel-huntin'?" he asked and, as the old hunter did not answer, he added, sharply:

Page 188

        "Air you afeerd, Joel Turner, that you ain't a-goin' to git justice from me?"

        "I don't keer whar it comes from," said Joel, grimly--"but I'm a-goin' to have it."

        It was plain that the old man not only was making no plea for sympathy, but was alienating the little he had: and what he had was very little--for who but a lover of dogs can give full sympathy to his kind? And, then, Jack was believed to be guilty. It was curious to see how each Dillon shrank unconsciously as the Turners gathered--all but Jerry, one of the giant twins. He always stood his ground--fearing not man, nor dog--nor devil.

        Ten minutes later, the Squire took his seat on the platform, while the circuit-rider squatted down beside him. The crowd, men and women and children, took the rough benches. To one side sat and stood the Dillons, old Tad and little Tad, Daws, Nance, and others of the tribe. Straight in front of the Squire gathered the Turners about Melissa and Chad and Jack as a centre--with Jack squatted on his haunches foremost of all, facing the Squire with grave dignity and looking at none else save, occasionally, the old hunter or his little master.

        To the right stood the sheriff with his rifle, and on the outskirts hung the school-master. Quickly the old Squire chose a jury--giving old Joel the opportunity to object as he called each man's name. Old Joel objected to none, for every man called, he knew, was more friendly to him than to the Dillons: and old Tad Dillon raised no word of protest, for he knew his case was clear. Then began the trial, and any soul that was there would have shuddered could he have known how that trial was

Page 189

to divide neighbor against neighbor, and mean death and bloodshed for half a century after the trial itself was long forgotten.

        The first witness, old Tad--long, lean, stooping, crafty--had seen the sheep rushing wildly up the hillside "'bout crack o' day," he said, and had sent Daws up to see what the matter was. Daws had shouted back:

        "That damned Turner dog has killed one o' our sheep. Thar he comes now. Kill him!" And old Tad had rushed in-doors for his rifle and had taken a shot at Jack as he leaped into the road and loped for home. Just then a stern, thick little voice rose from behind Jack:

        "Hit was a God's blessin' fer you that you didn't hit him."

        The Squire glared down at the boy and old Joel said, kindly:

        "Hush, Chad."

        Old Dillon had then gone down to the Turners and asked them to kill the dog, but old Joel had refused.

        "Whar was Whizzer?" Chad asked, sharply.

        "You can't axe that question," said the Squire. "Hit's er-er-irrelevant."

        Daws came next. When he reached the fence upon the hill-side he could see the sheep lying still on the ground. As he was climbing over, the Turner dog jumped the fence and Daws saw blood on his muzzle.

        "How close was you to him?" asked the Squire.

        "'Bout twenty feet," said Daws.

        "Humph!" said old Joel.

        "Whar was Whizzer?" Again the old Squire glared down at Chad.

        "Don't you axe that question again, boy. Didn't I tell you hit was irrelevant?"

        "What's irrelevant?" the boy asked, bluntly.

Page 190

        The Squire hesitated. "Why--why, hit ain't got nothin' to do with the case."

        "Hit ain't?" shouted Chad.

        "Joel," said the Squire, testily, "ef you don't keep that boy still, I'll fine him fer contempt o' court."

        Joel laughed, but he put his heavy hand on the boy's shoulder. Little Tad Dillon and Nance and the Dillon mother had all seen Jack running down the road. There was no doubt but that it was the Turner dog. And with this clear case against poor Jack, the Dillons rested. And what else could the Turners do but establish Jack's character and put in a plea of mercy--a useless plea, old Joel knew--for a first offence? Jack was the best dog old Joel had ever known, and the old man told wonderful tales of the dog's intelligence and kindness and how one night Jack had guarded a stray lamb that had broken its leg--until daybreak--and he had been led to the dog and the sheep by Jack's barking for help. The Turner boys confirmed this story, though it was received with incredulity.

        How could a dog that would guard one lone helpless lamb all night long take the life of another?

        There was no witness that had aught but kind words to say of the dog or aught but wonder that he should have done this thing--even back to the cattle-dealer who had given him to Chad. For at that time the dealer said--so testified Chad, no objection being raised to hearsay evidence--that Jack was the best dog he ever knew. That was all the Turners or anybody could do or say, and the old Squire was about to turn the case over to the jury when Chad rose:

        "Squire," he said, and his voice trembled, "Jack's my dog. I lived with him night an' day for 'bout three years an' I want to axe some questions."

Page 191

        He turned to Daws:

        "I want to axe you ef thar was any blood around that sheep."

        "Thar was a great big pool o' blood," said Daws, indignantly. Chad looked at the Squire.

        "Well, a sheep-killin' dog don't leave no great big pool o' blood, Squire, with the fust one he kills! He sucks it!" Several men nodded their heads.

        "Squire! The fust time I come over these mountains, the fust people I seed was these Dillons--an' Whizzer. They sicked Whizzer on Jack hyeh and Jack whooped him. Then Tad thar jumped me and I whooped him." (The Turner boys were nodding confirmation.) "Sence that time they've hated Jack an' they've hated me and they hate the Turners partly fer takin' keer o' me. Now you said somethin' I axed just now was irrelevant, but I tell you, Squire, I know a sheep-killin' dawg, and jes' as I know Jack ain't, I know the Dillon dawg naturely is, and I tell you, if the Dillons' dawg killed that sheep and they could put it on Jack--they'd do it. They'd do it--Squire, an' I tell you, you--ortern't--to let--that--sheriff--thar--shoot my--dog--until the Dillons answers what I axed--" the boy's passionate cry rang against the green walls and out the opening and across the river--

        "Whar's Whizzer?"

        The boy startled the crowd and the old Squire himself, who turned quickly to the Dillons.

        "Well, whar is Whizzer?"

        Nobody answered.

        "He ain't been seen, Squire, sence the evenin' afore the night o' the killin'!" Chad's statement seemed to be true. Not a voice contradicted.

        "An' I want to know if Daws seed signs o' killin' on

Page 192

Jack's head when he jumped the fence, why them same signs didn't show when he got home."

        Poor Chad! Here old Tad Dillon raised his hand.

        "Axe the Turners, Squire," he said, and as the school-master on the outskirts shrank, as though he meant to leave the crowd, the old man's quick eye caught the movement and he added:

        "Axe the school-teacher!"

        Every eye turned with the Squire's to the master, whose face was strangely serious straightway.

        "Did you see any signs on the dawg when he got home?" The gaunt man hesitated with one swift glance at the boy, who almost paled in answer.

        "Why," said the school-master, and again he hesitated, but old Joel, in a voice that was without hope, encouraged him:

        "Go on!"

        "What wus they?"

        "Jack had blood on his muzzle, and a little strand o' wool behind one ear."

        There was no hope against that testimony. Melissa broke away from her mother and ran out to the road--weeping. Chad dropped with a sob to his bench and put his arms around the dog: then he rose up and walked out the opening while Jack leaped against his leash to follow. The school-master put out his hand to stop him, but the boy struck it aside without looking up and went on: he could not stay to see Jack condemned. He knew what the verdict would be, and in twenty minutes the jury gave it, without leaving their seats.


        The Sheriff came forward. He knew Jack and Jack knew him, and wagged his tail and whimpered up at him when he took the leash.

Page 193

        "Well, by--, this is a job I don't like, an' I'm damned ef I'm agoin' to shoot this dawg afore he knows what I'm shootin' him fer. I'm goin' to show him that sheep fust. Whar's that sheep, Daws?"

        Daws led the way down the road, over the fence, across the meadow, and up the hill-side where lay the slain sheep. Chad and Melissa saw them coming--the whole crowd--before they themselves were seen. For a minute the boy watched them. They were going to kill Jack where the Dillons said he had killed the sheep, and the boy jumped to his feet and ran up the hill a little way and disappeared in the bushes, that he might not hear Jack's death-shot, while Melissa sat where she was, watching the crowd come on. Daws was at the foot of the hill, and she saw him make a gesture toward her, and then the Sheriff came on with Jack--over the fence, past her, the Sheriff saying, kindly, "Howdy, Melissa. I shorely am sorry to have to kill Jack," and on to the dead sheep, which lay fifty yards beyond. If the Sheriff expected Jack to drop head and tail and look mean he was greatly mistaken. Jack neither hung back nor sniffed at the carcass. Instead he put one forefoot on it and with the other bent in the air, looked without shame into the Sheriff's eyes--as much as to say:

        "Yes, this is a wicked and shameful thing, but what have I got to do with it? Why are you bringing me here?"

        The Sheriff came back greatly puzzled and shaking his head. Passing Melissa, he stopped to let the unhappy little girl give Jack a last pat, and it was there that Jack suddenly caught scent of Chad's tracks. With one mighty bound the dog snatched the rawhide string from the careless Sheriff's hand, and in a moment, with his nose to the ground, was speeding up toward the

Page 194

woods. With a startled yell and a frightful oath the Sheriff threw his rifle to his shoulder, but the little girl sprang up and caught the barrel with both hands, shaking it fiercely up and down and hieing Jack on with shriek after shriek. A minute later Jack had disappeared in the bushes, Melissa was running like the wind down the hill toward home, while the whole crowd in the meadow was rushing up toward the Sheriff, led by the Dillons, who were yelling and swearing like madmen. Above them, the crestfallen Sheriff waited. The Dillons crowded angrily about him, gesticulating and threatening, while he told his story. But nothing could be done--nothing. They did not know that Chad was up in the woods or they would have gone in search of him--knowing that when they found him they would find Jack--but to look for Jack now would be like searching for a needle in a hay-stack. There was nothing to do, then, but to wait for Jack to come home, which he would surely do--to get to Chad--and it was while old Joel was promising that the dog should be surrendered to the Sheriff that little Tad Dillon gave an excited shriek.

        "Look up thar!"

        And up there at the edge of the wood was Chad standing and, at his feet, Jack sitting on his haunches, with his tongue out and looking as though nothing had happened or could ever happen to Chad or to him.

        "Come up hyeh," shouted Chad.

        "You come down hyeh," shouted the Sheriff, angrily. So Chad came down, with Jack trotting after him. Chad had cut off the rawhide string, but the Sheriff caught Jack by the nape of the neck.

        "You won't git away from me agin, I reckon."

Page 195

        "Well, I reckon you ain't goin' to shoot him," said Chad. "Leggo that dawg."

        "Don't be a fool, Jim," said old Joel. "The dawg ain't goin' to leave the boy." The Sheriff let go.

        "Come on up hyeh," said Chad. "I got somethin' to show ye."

        The boy turned with such certainty that without a word Squire, Sheriff, Turners, Dillons, and spectators followed. As they approached a deep ravine the boy pointed to the ground where were evidences of some fierce struggle--the dirt thrown up, and several small stones scattered about with faded stains of blood on them.

        "Wait hyeh!" said the boy, and he slid down the ravine and appeared again dragging something after him. Tall Tom ran down to help him and the two threw before the astonished crowd the body of a black and white dog.

        "Now I reckon you know whar Whizzer is," panted Chad vindictively to the Dillons.

        "Well, what of it?" snapped Daws.

        "Oh, nothin'," said the boy with fine sarcasm. "Only Whizzer killed that sheep and Jack killed Whizzer." From every Dillon throat came a scornful grunt.

        "Oh, I reckon so," said Chad, easily. "Look thar!" He lifted the dead dog's head, and pointed at the strands of wool between his teeth. He turned it over, showing the deadly grip in the throat and close to the jaws, that had choked the life from Whizzer--Jack's own grip.

        "Ef you will jus' rickollect, Jack had that same grip the time afore--when I pulled him off o' Whizzer."

        "By --, that's so," said Tall Tom, and Dolph and Rube echoed him amid a dozen voices, for not only old Joel, but many of his neighbors knew Jack's method

Page 196

of fighting, which had made him a victor up and down the length of Kingdom Come.

        There was little doubt that the boy was right--that Jack had come on Whizzer killing the sheep, and had caught him at the edge of the ravine, where the two had fought, rolling down and settling the old feud between them in the darkness at the bottom. And up there on the hill-side, the jury that pronounced Jack guilty pronounced him innocent, and, as the Turners started joyfully down the hill, the sun that was to have sunk on Jack stiff in death sank on Jack frisking before them--home.

Page 197




        HE first saw it in the twilight of a clear October evening. As the earliest planet sprang into the sky, an answering gleam shone red amid the glooms in the valley. A star, too, it seemed. And later, when the myriads of the fairer, whiter lights of a moonless night were all athrob in the great concave vault bending to the hills, there was something very impressive in that solitary star of earth, changeless and motionless beneath the ever-changing skies.

        Chevis never tired of looking at it. Somehow it broke the spell that draws all eyes heavenward on starry nights. He often strolled with his cigar at dusk down to the verge of the crag, and sat for hours gazing at it and vaguely speculating about it. That spark seemed to have kindled all the soul and imagination within him, although he knew well enough its prosaic

        1 One of the most picturesque phases of Southern life is the presence, in the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina, of men and women who have been called "Our Contemporary Ancestors." The life is primitive and the language is Elisabethan. The elemental quality of these people, as well as the beauty of the mountain scenery, may be seen in all of Miss Murfree's stories.

        From In the Tennessee Mountains. By permission of the Houghton Mifflin Company.

Page 198

source, for he had once questioned the gawky mountaineer whose services he had secured as guide through the forest solitudes during this hunting expedition.

        "That thar spark in the valley?" Hi Bates had replied, removing the pipe from his lips and emitting a cloud of strong tobacco smoke. "'Tain't nuthin' but the light in Jerry Shaw's house, 'bout haffen mile from the foot of the mounting. Ye pass that thar house when ye goes on the Christel road, what leads down the mounting off the Back-bone. That's Jerry Shaw's house,--that's what it is. He's a blacksmith, an' he kin shoe a horse toler'ble well when he ain't drunk, ez he mos'ly is."

        "Perhaps that is the light from the forge," suggested Chevis.

        "That thar forge ain't run more'n half the day, let 'lone o' nights. I hev never hearn tell on Jerry Shaw a-workin' o' nights,--nor in the daytime nuther, ef he kin get shet of it. No sech no 'count critter 'twixt hyar an' the Settlemint."

        So spake Chevis's astronomer. Seeing the star even through the prosaic lens of stern reality did not detract from its poetic aspect. Chevis never failed to watch for it. The first faint glinting in the azure evening sky sent his eyes to that red reflection suddenly aglow in the valley; even when the mists rose above it and hid it from him, he gazed at the spot where it had disappeared, feeling a calm satisfaction to know that it was still shining beneath the cloud-curtain. He encouraged himself in this bit of sentimentality. These unique eventide effects seemed a fitting sequel to the picturesque day, passed in hunting deer, with horn and hounds, through the gorgeous autumnal forest; or perchance in the more exciting sport in some rocky gorge with a bear at bay

Page 199

and the frenzied pack around him; or in the idyllic pleasures of bird-shooting with a thoroughly trained dog; and coming back in the crimson sunset to a well-appointed tent and a smoking supper of venison or wild-turkey,--the trophies of his skill. The vague dreaminess of his cigar and the charm of that bright bit of color in the night-shrouded valley added a sort of romantic zest to these primitive enjoyments, and ministered to that keen susceptibility of impressions which Reginald Chevis considered eminently characteristic of a highly wrought mind and nature.

        He said nothing of his fancies, however, to his fellow sportsman, Ned Varney, nor to the mountaineer. Infinite as was the difference between these two in mind and cultivation, his observation of both had convinced him that they were alike incapable of appreciating and comprehending his delicate and dainty musings. Varney was essentially a man of this world; his mental and moral conclusions had been adopted in a calm, mercantile spirit, as giving the best return for the outlay, and the market was not liable to fluctuations. And the mountaineer could go no further than the prosaic fact of the light in Jerry Shaw's house. Thus Reginald Chevis was wont to sit in contemplative silence on the crag until his cigar was burnt out, and afterward to lie awake deep in the night, listening to the majestic lyric welling up from the thousand nocturnal voices of these mountain wilds.

        During the day, in place of the red light a gauzy little curl of smoke was barely visible, the only sign or suggestion of human habitation to be seen from the crag in all the many miles of long, narrow valley and parallel tiers of ranges. Sometimes Chevis and Varney caught sight of it from lower down on the mountain

Page 200

side, whence was faintly distinguishable the little log-house and certain vague lines marking a rectangular inclosure; near at hand, too, the forge, silent and smokeless. But it did not immediately occur to either of them to theorize concerning its inmates and their lives in this lonely place; for a time, not even to the speculative Chevis. As to Varney, he gave his whole mind to the matter in hand,--his gun, his dog, his game,--and his note-book was as systematic and as romantic as the ledger at home.

        It might be accounted an event in the history of that log-hut when Reginald Chevis, after riding past it eighty yards or so, chanced one day to meet a country girl walking toward the house. She did not look up, and he caught only an indistinct glimpse of her face. She spoke to him, however, as she went by, which is the invariable custom with the inhabitants of the sequestered nooks among the encompassing mountains, whether meeting stranger or acquaintance. He lifted his hat in return, with that punctilious courtesy which he made a point of according to persons of low degree. In another moment she had passed down the narrow sandy road, overhung with gigantic trees, and, at a deft, even pace, hardly slackened as she traversed the great log extending across the rushing stream, she made her way up the opposite hill, and disappeared gradually over its brow.

        The expression of her face, half-seen though it was, had attracted his attention. He rode slowly along, meditating. "Did she go into Shaw's house, just around the curve of the road?" he wondered. "Is she Shaw's daughter, or some visiting neighbor?"

        That night he looked with a new interest at the red star, set like a jewel in the floating mists of the valley.

        "Do you know," he asked of Hi Bates, when the

Page 201

three men were seated, after supper, around the campfire, which sent lurid tongues of flame and a thousand bright sparks leaping high in the darkness, and illumined the vistas of the woods on every side, save where the sudden crag jutted over the valley,--"Do you know whether Jerry Shaw has a daughter,--a young girl?"

        "Ye'es," drawled Hi Bates, disparagingly, "he hev."

        A pause ensued. The star in the valley was blotted from sight; the rising mists had crept to the verge of the crag; nay, in the undergrowth fringing the mountain's brink, there were softly clinging white wreaths.

        "Is she pretty?" asked Chevis.

        "Waal, no, she ain't," said Hi Bates, decisively. "She's a pore, no 'count critter." Then he added, as if he were afraid of being misapprehended, "Not ez thar is any harm in the gal, ye onderstand. She's a mighty good, saft-spoken, quiet sort o' gal, but she's a pore, white-faced, slim little critter. She looks like she hain't got no sort'n grit in her. She makes me think o' one o' them slim little slips o' willow every time nor I sees her. She hain't got long ter live, I reckon," he concluded, dismally.

        Reginald Chevis asked him no more questions about Jerry Shaw's daughter.

        Not long afterward, when Chevis was hunting through the deep woods about the base of the mountain near the Christel road, his horse happened to cast a shoe. He congratulated himself upon his proximity to the forge, for there was a possibility that the blacksmith might be at work; according to the account which Hi Bates had given of Jerry Shaw's habits, there were half a dozen chances against it. But the shop was at no great

Page 202

distance, and he set out to find his way back to the Christel road, guided by sundry well-known landmarks on the mountain side: certain great crags hanging above the tree-tops, showing in grander sublimity through the thinning foliage, or beetling bare and grim; a dismantled and deserted hovel, the red-berried vines twining amongst the rotting logs; the full flow of a tumultuous stream making its last leap down a precipice eighty feet high, with yeasty, maddening waves below and a rainbow-crowned crystal sheet above. And here again the curves of the woodland road. As the sound of the falling water grew softer and softer in the distance, till it was hardly more than a drowsy murmur, the faint vibrations of a far-off anvil rang upon the air. Welcome indeed to Chevis, for however enticing might be the long rambles through the redolent October woods with dog and gun, he had no mind to tramp up the mountain to his tent, five miles distant, leading the resisting horse all the way. The afternoon was so clear and so still that the metallic sound penetrated far through the quiet forest. At every curve of the road he expected to see the log-cabin with its rail fence, and beyond the low-hanging chestnut-tree, half its branches resting upon the roof of the little shanty of a blacksmith's shop. After many windings a sharp turn brought him full upon the humble dwelling, with its background of primeval woods and the purpling splendors of the western hills. The chickens were going to roost in a stunted cedar-tree just without the door; an incredibly old man, feeble and bent, sat dozing in the lingering sunshine on the porch; a girl, with a pail on her head, was crossing the road and going down a declivity toward a spring which bubbled up in a cleft of the gigantic rocks that were piled one above another, rising to a great height. A mingled

Page 203

breath of cool, dripping water, sweet-scented fern, and pungent mint greeted him as he passed it. He did not see the girl's face, for she had left the road before he went by, but he recognized the slight figure, with that graceful poise acquired by the prosaic habit of carrying weights upon the head, and its lithe, swaying beauty reminded him of the mountaineer's comparison,--a slip of willow.

        And now, under the chestnut-tree, he conversed with Jerry Shaw, who came out hammer in hand from the anvil, concerning the shoe to be put on Strathspey's left forefoot, and the problematic damage sustained since the accident. Chevis's own theory occupied some minutes in expounding, and so absorbed his attention that he did not observe, until the horse was fairly under the blacksmith's hands, that, despite Jerry Shaw's unaccustomed industry, this was by no means a red-letter day in his habitual dissipation. He trembled for Strathspey, but it was too late now to interfere. Jerry Shaw was in that stage of drunkenness which is greatly accented by an elaborate affectation of sobriety. His desire that Chevis should consider him perfectly sober was abundantly manifest in his rigidly steady gait, the preternatural gravity in his bloodshot eyes, his sparingness of speech, and the earnestness with which he enunciated the acquiescent formulæ which had constituted his share of the conversation. Now and then, controlling his faculties by a great effort, he looked hard at Chevis to discover what doubts might be expressed in his face concerning the genuineness of this staid deportment; and Chevis presently found it best to affect too. Believing that the blacksmith's histrionic attempts in the rôle of sober artisan were occupying his attention more than the paring of Strathspey's hoof, which he

Page 204

held between his knees on his leather apron, while the horse danced an animated measure on the other three feet, Chevis assumed an appearance of indifference, and strolled away into the shop. He looked about him, carelessly, at the horseshoes hanging on a rod in the rude aperture that served as window, at the wagon-tires, the ploughshares, the glowing fire of the forge. The air within was unpleasantly close, and he soon found himself again in the doorway.

        "Can I get some water here?" he asked, as Jerry Shaw re-entered, and began hammering vigorously at the shoe destined for Strathspey.

        The resonant music ceased for a moment. The solemn, drunken eyes were slowly turned upon the visitor, and the elaborate affectation of sobriety was again obtrusively apparent in the blacksmith's manner. He rolled up more closely the blue-checked homespun sleeve from his corded hammer-arm, twitched nervously at the single suspender that supported his copper-colored jeans trousers, readjusted his leather apron hanging about his neck, and, casting upon Chevis another glance, replete with a challenging gravity, fell to work upon the anvil, every heavy and well-directed blow telling with the precision of machinery.

        The question had hardly been heard before forgotten. At the next interval, when he was going out to fit the horse, Chevis repeated his request.

        "Water, did ye say?" asked Jerry Shaw, looking at him with narrowing eyelids, as if to shut out all other contemplation that he might grapple with this problem. "Thar's no fraish water hyar, but ye kin go yander ter the house and ax fur some; or," he added, shading his eyes from the sunlight with his broad blackened hand, and looking at the huge wall of stone beyond the road,

Page 205

"ye kin go down yander ter the spring, an' ax that thar gal fur a drink."

        Chevis took his way, in the last rays of sunshine, across the road and down the declivity in the direction indicated by the blacksmith. A cool gray shadow fell upon him from the heights of the great rocks, as he neared them; the narrow path leading from the road grew dank and moist, and presently his feet were sunk in the still green and odorous water-loving weeds, the clumps of fern, and the pungent mint. He did not notice the soft verdure; he did not even see the beautiful vines that hung from earth-filled niches among the rocks, and lent to their forbidding aspect something of a smiling grace; their picturesque grouping, where they had fallen apart to show this sparkling fountain of bright up-springing water, was all lost upon his artistic perceptions. His eyes were fixed on the girl standing beside the spring, her pail filled, but waiting, with a calm expectant look on her face, as she saw him approaching.

        No creature could have been more coarsely habited: a green cotton dress, faded to the faintest hue; rough shoes, just visible beneath her skirts; a dappled gray and brown calico sun-bonnet, thrown aside on a moss-grown bowlder near at hand. But it seemed as if the wild nature about her had been generous to this being toward whom life and fortune had played the niggard. There were opaline lights in her dreamy eyes which one sees nowhere save in sunset clouds that brood above dark hills; the golden sunbeams, all faded from the landscape, had left a perpetual reflection in her bronze hair; there was a subtle affinity between her and other pliant, swaying, graceful young things, waving in the mountain breezes, fed by the rain and the dew. She was hardly more human to Chevis than certain lissome little

Page 206

woodland flowers, the very names of which he did not know,--pure white, star-shaped, with a faint green line threading its way through each of the five delicate petals; he had seen them embellishing the banks of lonely pools, or growing in dank, marshy places in the middle of the unfrequented road, where perhaps it had been mended in a primitive way with a few rotting rails.

        "May I trouble you to give me some water?" asked Chevis, prosaically enough. She neither smiled nor replied. She took the gourd from the pail, dipped it into the lucent depths of the spring, handed it to him, and stood awaiting its return when he should have finished. The cool, delicious water was drained, and he gave the gourd back. "I am much obliged," he said.

        "Ye're welcome," she replied, in a slow, singing monotone. Had the autumn winds taught her voice that melancholy cadence?

        Chevis would have liked to hear her speak again, but the gulf between his station and hers--so undreamed of by her (for the differences of caste are absolutely unknown to the independent mountaineers), so patent to him--could be bridged by few ideas. They had so little in common that for a moment he could think of nothing to say. His cogitation suggested only the inquiry, "Do you live here?" indicating the little house on the other side of the road.

        "Yes," she chanted in the same monotone, "I live hyar."

        She turned to lift the brimming pail. Chevis spoke again: "Do you always stay at home? Do you never go anywhere?"

        Her eyes rested upon him, with a slight surprise looking out from among their changing lights. "No,"

Page 207

she said, after a pause; "I hev no call to go nowhar ez I knows on."

        She placed the pail on her head, took the dappled sun-bonnet in her hand, and went along the path with the assured, steady gait and the graceful backward poise of the figure that precluded the possibility of spilling a drop from the vessel.

        He had been touched in a highly romantic way by the sweet beauty of this little woodland flower. It seemed hard that so perfect a thing of its kind should be wasted here, unseen by more appreciative eyes than those of bird, or rabbit, or the equally uncultured human beings about her; and it gave him a baffling sense of the mysterious injustice of life to reflect upon the difference in her lot and that of others of her age in higher spheres. He went thoughtfully through the closing shadows to the shop, mounted the reshod Strathspey, and rode along the rugged ascent of the mountain, gravely pondering on worldly inequalities.

        He saw her often afterward, although he spoke to her again but once. He sometimes stopped as he came and went on the Christel road, and sat chatting with the old man, her grandfather, on the porch, sunshiny days, or lounged in the barnlike door of Jerry Shaw's shop talking to the half-drunken blacksmith. He piqued himself on the readiness with which he became interested in these people, entered into their thoughts and feelings, obtained a comprehensive idea of the machinery of life in this wilderness,--more complicated than one could readily believe, looking upon the changeless face of the wide unpopulated expanse of mountain ranges stretching so far beneath that infinite sky. They appealed to him from the basis of their common humanity, he thought, and the pleasure of watching the development

Page 208

of the common human attributes in this peculiar and primitive state of society never palled upon him. He regarded with contempt Varney's frivolous displeasure and annoyance because of Hi Bates's utter insensibility to the difference in their social position, and the necessity of either acquiescing in the supposititious equality or dispensing with the invaluable services of the proud and independent mountaineer; because of the patois1 of the untutored people, to hear which, Varney was wont to declare, set his teeth on edge; because of their narrow prejudices, their mental poverty, their idle shiftlessness, their uncouth dress and appearance. Chevis flattered himself that he entertained a broader view. He had not even a subacute idea that he looked upon these people and their inner life only as picturesque bits of the mental and moral landscape; that it was an æsthetic and theoretical pleasure their contemplation afforded him; that he was as far as ever from the basis of common humanity.

        Sometimes while he talked to the old man on the sunlit porch, the "slip o' willow" sat in the doorway, listening too, but never speaking. Sometimes he would find her with her father at the forge, her fair, ethereal face illumined with an alien and fluctuating brilliancy, shining and fading as the breath of the fire rose and fell. He came to remember that face so well that in a sorry sketch-book, where nothing else was finished, there were several laborious pages lighted up with a faint reflection of its beauty. But he was as much interested perhaps, though less poetically, in that massive figure, the idle blacksmith. He looked at it all from an ideal point of view. The star in the valley

        1 Patois, dialect.

Page 209

was only a brilliant, set in the night landscape, and suggested a unique and pleasing experience.

        How should he imagine what luminous and wistful eyes were turned upward to where another star burned,--the light of his camp-fire on the crag; what pathetic, beautiful eyes had learned to watch and wait for that red gleam high on the mountain's brow,--hardly below the stars in heaven it seemed! How could he dream of the strange, vague, unreasoning trouble with which his idle comings and goings had clouded that young life, a trouble as strange, as vague, as vast, as the limitless sky above her?

        She understood him as little. As she sat in the open doorway, with the flare of the fire behind her, and gazed at the red light shining on the crag, she had no idea of the heights of worldly differences that divided them, more insurmountable than precipices and flying chutes of mountain torrents, and chasms and fissures of the wild ravine: she knew nothing of the life he had left, and of its rigorous artificialities and gradations of wealth and estimation. And with a heart full of pitiable unrealities she looked up at the glittering simulacrum of a star on the crag, while he gazed down on the ideal star in the valley.

        The weeks had worn deep into November. Chevis and Varney were thinking of going home; indeed, they talked of breaking camp day after to-morrow, and saying a long adieu to wood and mountain and stream. They had had an abundance of good sport and a surfeit of roughing it. They would go back to town and town avocations invigorated by their holiday, and taking with them a fresh and exhilarating recollection of the forest life left so far behind.

        It was near dusk, on a dull, cold evening, when Chevis

Page 210

dismounted before the door of the blacksmith's little log-cabin. The chestnut-tree hung desolate and bare on the eaves of the forge; the stream rushed by in swift gray whirlpools under a sullen gray sky; the gigantic wall of broken rocks loomed gloomy and sinister on the opposite side of the road,--not so much as a withered leaf of all their vines clung to their rugged surfaces. The mountains had changed color: the nearest ranges were black with the myriads of the grim black branches of the denuded forest; far away they stretched in parallel lines, rising tier above tier, and showing numberless gradations of a dreary, neutral tint, which grew ever fainter in the distance, till merged in the uniform tone of the sombre sky.

        Indoors it was certainly more cheerful. A hickory fire dispensed alike warmth and light. The musical whir of a spinning-wheel added its unique charm. From the rafters depended numberless strings of bright red pepper-pods and ears of popcorn; hanks of woollen and cotton yarn; bunches of medicinal herbs; brown gourds and little bags of seeds. On rude shelves against the wall were ranged cooking utensils, drinking vessels, etc., all distinguished by that scrupulous cleanliness which is a marked feature of the poor hovels of these mountaineers, and in striking contrast to the poor hovels of lowlanders. The rush-bottomed chairs, drawn in a semicircle before the rough, ill-adjusted stones which did duty as hearth, were occupied by several men, who seemed to be making the blacksmith a prolonged visit; various members of the family were humbly seated on sundry inverted domestic articles, such as wash-tubs, and splint-baskets made of white oak. There was circulating among Jerry Shaw's friends a flat bottle, facetiously denominated "tickler," readily emptied, but

Page 211

as readily replenished from a keg in the corner. Like the widow's cruse of oil, that keg was miraculously never empty. The fact of a still near by in the wild ravine might suggest a reason for its perennial flow. It was a good strong article of apple brandy, and its effects were beginning to be distinctly visible.

        Truly the ethereal woodland flower seemed strangely incongruous with these brutal and uncouth conditions of her life, as she stood at a little distance from this group, spinning at her wheel. Chevis felt a sudden sharp pang of pity for her when he glanced toward her; the next instant he had forgotten it in his interest in her work. It was altogether at variance with the ideas which he had hitherto entertained concerning that humble handicraft. There came across him a vague recollection from his city life that the peasant girls of art galleries and of the lyric stage were wont to sit at the wheel. "But perhaps they were spinning flax," he reflected. This spinning was a matter of walking back and forth with smooth, measured steps and graceful, undulatory motion; a matter, too, of much pretty gesticulation,--the thread in one hand, the other regulating the whir of the wheel. He thought he had never seen attitudes so charming.

        Jerry Shaw hastened to abdicate and offer one of the rush-bottomed chairs with the eager hospitality characteristic of these mountaineers,--a hospitality that meets a stranger on the threshold of every hut, presses upon him, ungrudgingly, its best, and follows him on his departure with protestations of regret out to the rickety fence. Chevis was more or less known to all of the visitors, and after a little, under the sense of familiarity and the impetus of the apple brandy, the talk flowed on as freely as before his entrance. It was wilder and more

Page 212

antagonistic to his principles and prejudices than anything he had hitherto heard among these people, and he looked on and listened, interested in this new development of a phase of life which he had thought he had sounded from its lowest note to the top of its compass. He was glad to remain; the scene had impressed his cultivated perceptions as an interior by Teniers1 might have done, and the vehemence and lawlessness of the conversation and the threats of violence had little reality for him; if he thought about the subject under discussion at all, it was with a reassuring conviction that before the plans could be carried out the already intoxicated mountaineers would be helplessly drunk. Nevertheless, he glanced ever and anon at the young girl, loath that she should hear it, lest its virulent, angry bitterness should startle her. She was evidently listening, too, but her fair face was as calm and untroubled as one of the pure white faces of those flower-stars of his early stay in the mountains.

        "Them Peels ought n't ter be let live!" exclaimed Elijah Burr, a gigantic fellow, arrayed in brown jeans, with the accompaniments of knife, powder-horn, etc., usual with the hunters of the range; his gun stood, with those of the other guests, against the wall in a corner of the room. "They oughtn't ter be let live, an' I'd top off all three of 'em fur the skin an' horns of a deer."

        "That thar is a true word," assented Jerry Shaw. "They oughter be run down an' kilt,--all three o' them Peels."

        Chevis could not forbear a question. Always on the alert to add to his stock of knowledge of men and minds, always analyzing his own inner life and the inner life of those about him, he said, turning to his intoxicated

        1 Teniers, a Flemish artist.

Page 213

host, "Who are the Peels, Mr. Shaw,--if I may ask?"

        "Who air the Peels?" repeated Jerry Shaw, making a point of seizing the question. "They air the meanest men in these hyar mountings. Ye might hunt from Copperhead Ridge ter Clinch River, an' the whole spread o' the valley, an' never hear tell o' no sech no 'count critters."

        "They oughtn't ter be let live!" again urged Elijah Burr. "No man ez treats his wife like that dad-burned scoundrel Ike Peel do oughter be let live. That thar woman is my sister an' Jerry Shaw's cousin,--an' I shot him down in his own door year afore las'. I shot him ter kill; but somehow 'nother I war that shaky, an' the cussed gun hung fire a-fust, an' that thar pore wife o' his'n screamed an' hollered so, that I never done nuthin' arter all but lay him up for four month an' better for that thar pore critter ter nuss. He'll see a mighty differ nex' time I gits my chance. An' 'tain't fur off," he added threateningly.

        "Wouldn't it be better to persuade her to leave him?" suggested Chevis pacifically, without, however, any wild idea of playing peace-maker between fire and tow.

        Burr growled a fierce oath, and then was silent.

        A slow fellow on the opposite side of the fireplace explained: "Thar's whar all the trouble kem from. She wouldn't leave him, fur all he treated her awful. She said ez how he war mighty good ter her when he warn't drunk. So 'Lijah shot him."

        This way of cutting the Gordian knot of domestic difficulties might have proved efficacious but for the shakiness induced by the thrill of fraternal sentiment, the infusion of apple brandy, the protest of the bone of

Page 214

contention, and the hanging fire of the treacherous gun. Elijah Burr could remember no other failure of aim for twenty years.

        "He won't git shet of me that easy again!" Burr declared, with another pull at the flat tickler. "But ef it hedn't hev been fur what happened las' week, I mought hev let him off fur awhile," he continued, evidently actuated by some curiously distorted sense of duty in the premises. "I oughter hev kilt him afore. But now the cussed critter is a gone coon. Dad-burn the whole tribe!"

        Chevis was desirous of knowing what had happened last week. He did not, however, feel justified in asking more questions. But apple brandy is a potent tongue-loosener, and the unwonted communicativeness of the stolid and silent mountaineers attested its strength in this regard. Jerry Shaw, without inquiry, enlightened him.

        "Ye see," he said, turning to Chevis, "'Lijah he thought ez how ef he could git that fool woman ter come ter his house, he could shoot Ike fur his meanness 'thout botherin' of her, an' things would all git easy again. Waal, he went thar one day when all them Peels, the whole lay-out, war gone down ter the Settlemint ter hear the rider preach, an' he jes' run away with two of the brats,--the littlest ones, ye onderstand,--a-thinkin' he mought tole her off from Ike that thar way. We hearn ez how the pore critter war nigh on ter distracted 'bout 'em, but Ike never let her come arter 'em. Leastways, she never kem. Las' week Ike kem fur 'em hisself,--him an' them two cussed brothers o' his'n. All 'Lijah's folks war out'n the way; him an' his boys war off a-hunting, an' his wife hed gone down ter the spring, a haffen mile an' better, a-washin' clothes; nobody war ter the house 'ceptin' them two chillen o' Ike's. An'

Page 215

Ike an' his brothers jes' tuk the chillen away, an' set fire ter the house; an' time 'Lijah's wife got thar, 'twar nuthin' but a pile o' ashes. So we've determinated ter go up yander ter Laurel Notch, twenty mile along the ridge of the mounting, ter-night, an' wipe out them Peels,--'kase they air a-goin' ter move away. That thar wife o' Ike's, what made all the trouble, hev fretted an' fretted at Ike till he hev determinated ter break up an' wagon across the range ter Kaintucky, whar his uncle lives in the hills thar. Ike hev gin his cornsent ter go jes' ter pleasure her, 'kaze she air mos' crazed ter git Ike away whar 'Lijah can't kill him. Ike's brothers is a-goin', too. I hearn ez how they'll make a start at noon ter-morrer."

        "They'll never start ter Kaintucky ter-morrer," said Burr, grimly. "They'll git off, afore that, fur hell, stiddier Kaintucky. I hev been a-tryin' ter make out ter shoot that thar man ever since that thar gal was married ter him, seven years ago,--seven years an' better. But what with her a-foolin' round, an' a-talkin', an' a-goin' on like she war distracted--she run right 'twixt him an' the muzzle of my gun wunst, or I would hev hed him that time for sure--an' somehow 'nother that critter makes me so shaky with her ways of goin' on that I feel like I hain't got good sense, an' can't git no good aim at nuthin'. Nex' time, though, thar'll be a differ. She ain't a-goin' ter Kaintucky along of him ter be beat fur nuthin' when he's drunk."

        It was a pitiable picture presented to Chevis's open-eyed imagination,--this woman standing for years between the two men she loved: holding back her brother from his vengeance of her wrongs by that subtle influence that shook his aim; and going into exile with her brute of a husband when that influence had waned

Page 216

and failed, and her wrongs were supplemented by deep and irreparable injuries to her brother. And the curious moral attitude of the man: the strong fraternal feeling that alternately nerved and weakened his revengeful hand.

        "We air goin' thar 'bout two o'clock ter-night," said Jerry Shaw, "and wipe out all three o' them Peels,--Ike an' his two brothers."

        "They oughtn't ter be let live," reiterated Elijah Burr, moodily. Did he speak to his faintly stirring conscience, or to a woful premonition of his sister's grief?

        "They'll all three be stiff an' stark afore daybreak," resumed Jerry Shaw. "We air all kin ter 'Lijah, an' we air goin' ter holp him top off them Peels. Thar's ten of us an' three o' them, an' we won't hev no trouble 'bout it. An' we'll bring that pore critter, Ike's wife, an' her children hyar ter stay. She's welcome ter live along of us till 'Lijah kin fix some sort'n place fur her an' the little chillen. Thar won't be no trouble a-gittin' rid of the men folks, ez thar is ten of us an' three o' them, an' we air goin' ter take 'em in the night."

        There was a protest from an unexpected quarter. The whir of the spinning-wheel was abruptly silenced. "I don't see no sense," said Celia Shaw, her singing monotone vibrating in the sudden Iull,--"I don't see no sense in shootin' folks down like they war nuthin' better nor bear, nor deer, nor suthin' wild. I don't see no sense in it. An' I never did see none."

        There was an astonished pause.

        "Shet up, Cely! Shet up!" exclaimed Jerry Shaw, in mingled anger and surprise. "Them folks ain't no better nor bear, nor sech. They hain't got no right ter live,--them Peels."

        "No, that they hain't!" said Burr.

Page 217

        "They is powerful no 'count critters, I know," replied the little woodland flower, the firelight bright in her opaline eyes and on the flakes of burnished gold gleaming in the dark masses of her hair. "They is always a-hanging 'round the still an' a-gettin' drunk; but I don't see no sense in a-huntin' 'em down an' a-killin' 'em off. 'Pears ter me like they air better nor the dumb ones. I don't see no sense in shootin' 'em."

        "Shet up, Cely! Shet up!" reiterated Shaw.

        Celia said no more. Reginald Chevis was pleased with this indication of her sensibility; the other women--her mother and grandmother--had heard the whole recital with the utmost indifference, as they sat by the fire monotonously carding cotton. She was beyond her station in sentiment, he thought. However, he was disposed to recant this favorable estimate of her higher nature when, twice afterward, she stopped her work, and, filling the bottle from the keg, pressed it upon her father, despite her unfavorable criticism of the hangers-on of stills. Nay, she insisted. "Drink some more," she said. "Ye hain't got half enough yit." Had the girl no pity for the already drunken creature? She seemed systematically trying to make him even more helpless than he was.

        He had fallen into a deep sleep before Chevis left the house, and the bottle was circulating among the other men with a rapidity that boded little harm to the unconscious Ike Peel and his brothers at Laurel Notch, twenty miles away. As Chevis mounted Strathspey he saw the horses of Jerry Shaw's friends standing partly within and partly without the black-smith's shop. They would stand there all night, he thought. It was darker when he commenced the ascent of the mountain than he had anticipated. And what

Page 218

was this driving against his face,--rain? No, it was snow. He had not started a moment too soon. But Strathspey, by reason of frequent travel, knew every foot of the way, and perhaps there would only be a flurry. And so he went on steadily up and up the wild, winding road among the great, bare, black trees and the grim heights and chasms. The snow fell fast,--so fast and so silently, before he was half-way to the summit he had lost the vague companionship of the sound of his horse's hoofs, now muffled in the thick carpet so suddenly flung upon the ground. Still the snow fell, and when he had reached the mountain's brow the ground was deeply covered, and the whole aspect of the scene was strange. But though obscured by the fast-flying flakes, he knew that down in the bosom of the white valley there glittered still that changeless star.

        "Still spinning, I suppose," he said to himself, as he looked toward it and thought of the interior of the log-cabin below. And then he turned into the tent to enjoy his cigar, his æsthetic reveries, and a bottle of wine.

        But the wheel was no longer awhir. Both music and musician were gone. Toiling along the snow-filled mountain ways, struggling with the fierce gusts of wind as they buffeted and hindered her, and fluttered derisively among her thin, worn, old garments; shivering as the driving flakes came full into the pale, calm face, and fell in heavier and heavier wreaths upon the dappled calico sun-bonnet; threading her way through unfrequented woodland paths, that she might shorten the distance; now deftly on the verge of a precipice, whence a false step of those coarse, rough shoes would fling her into unimaginable abysses below; now on the sides of steep ravines, falling sometimes with the treacherous, sliding snow, but never faltering; tearing her hands

Page 219

on the shrubs and vines she clutched to help her forward, and bruised and bleeding, but still going on; trembling more than with the cold, but never turning back, when a sudden noise in the terrible loneliness of the sheeted woods suggested the close proximity of a wild beast, or perhaps, to her ignorant, superstitious mind, a supernatural presence,--thus she journeyed on her errand of deliverance.

        Her fluttering breath came and went in quick gasps; her failing limbs wearily dragged through the deep drifts; the cruel winds untiringly lashed her; the snow soaked through the faded green cotton dress to the chilled white skin,--it seemed even to the dull blood coursing feebly through her freezing veins. But she had small thought for herself during those long, slow hours of endurance and painful effort. Her pale lips moved now and then with muttered speculations: how the time went by; whether they had discovered her absence at home; and whether the fleeter horsemen were even now ploughing their way through the longer, winding mountain road. Her only hope was to outstrip their speed. Her prayer--this untaught being!--she had no prayer, except perhaps her life, the life she was so ready to imperil. She had no high, cultured sensibilities to sustain her. There was no instinct stirring within her that might have nerved her to save her father's, or her brother's, or a benefactor's life. She held the creatures that she would have died to warn in low estimation, and spoke of them with reprobation and contempt. She had known no religious training, holding up forever the sublimest ideal. The measureless mountain wilds were not more infinite to her than that great mystery. Perhaps, without any philosophy, she stood upon the basis of a common humanity.

Page 220

        When the silent horsemen, sobered by the chill night air and the cold snow, made their cautious approach to the little porch of Ike Peel's log-hut at Laurel Notch, there was a thrill of dismayed surprise among them to discover the door standing half open, the house empty of its scanty furniture and goods, its owners fled, and the very dogs disappeared; only, on the rough stones before the dying fire, Celia Shaw, falling asleep and waking by fitful starts.

        "Jerry Shaw swore ez how he would hev shot that thar gal o' his'n,--that thar Cely," Hi Bates said to Chevis and Varney the next day, when he recounted the incident, "only he didn't think she hed her right mind; a-walkin' through this hyar deep snow full fifteen mile,--it's fifteen mile by the short cut ter Laurel Notch,--ter git Ike Peel's folks off 'fore 'Lijah an' her dad could come up an' settle Ike an' his brothers. Leastways, 'Lijah an' the t'others, fur Jerry hed got so drunk he couldn't go; he war dead asleep till ter-day, when they kem back a-fotchin' the gal with 'em. That thar Cely Shaw never did look ter me like she had good sense, nohow. Always looked like she war queer an' teched in the head."

        There was a furtive gleam of speculation on the dull face of the mountaineer when his two listeners broke into enthusiastic commendation of the girl's high heroism and courage. The man of ledgers swore that he had never heard of anything so fine, and that he himself would walk through fifteen miles of snow and midnight wilderness for the honor of shaking hands with her. There was that keen thrill about their hearts sometimes felt in crowded theatres, responsive to the cleverly simulated heroism of the boards; or in listening to a poet's mid-air song; or in looking upon some grand and ennobling

Page 221

phase of life translated on a great painter's canvas.

        Hi Bates thought that perhaps they too were a little "teched in the head."

        There had fallen upon Chevis a sense of deep humiliation. Celia Shaw had heard no more of that momentous conversation than he; a wide contrast was suggested. He began to have a glimmering perception that despite all his culture, his sensibility, his yearnings toward humanity, he was not so high a thing in the scale of being; that he had placed a false estimate upon himself. He had looked down on her with a mingled pity for her dense ignorance, her coarse surroundings, her low station, and a dilettante's delight in picturesque effects, and with no recognition of the moral splendors of that star in the valley. A realization, too, was upon him that fine feelings are of most avail as the motive power of fine deeds.

        He and his friend went down together to the little log-cabin. There had been only jeers and taunts and reproaches for Celia Shaw from her own people. These she had expected, and she had stolidly borne them. But she listened to the fine speeches of the city-bred men with a vague wonderment on her flower-like face,--whiter than ever to-day.

        "It was a splendid--a noble thing to do," said Varney, warmly.

        "I shall never forget it," said Chevis, "it will always be like a sermon to me."

        There was something more than Reginald Chevis never forgot: the look on her face as he turned and left her forever; for he was on his way back to his former life, so far removed from her and all her ideas and imaginings. He pondered long upon that look in her

Page 222

inscrutable eyes,--was it suffering, some keen pang of despair?--as he rode down and down the valley, all unconscious of the heart-break he left behind him. He thought of it often afterward; he never penetrated its mystery.

        He heard of her only once again. On the eve of a famous day, when visiting the outposts of a gallant corps, Reginald Chevis happened to recognize in one of the pickets the gawky mountaineer who had been his guide through those autumnal woods so far away. Hi Bates was afterward sought out and honored with an interview in the general's tent; for the accidental encounter had evoked many pleasant reminiscences in Chevis's mind, and among other questions he wished to ask was what had become of Jerry Shaw's daughter.

        "She's dead,--long ago," answered Hi Bates. "She died afore the winter war over the year ez ye war a-huntin' thar. She never hed good sense ter my way o' thinkin', nohow, an' one night she run away, an' walked 'bout fifteen mile through a big snow-storm. Some say it settled on her chist. Anyhow, she jes' sorter fell away like afterward, an' never held up her head good no more. She always war a slim little critter, an' looked like she war teched in the head."

        There are many things that suffer unheeded in those mountains: the birds that freeze on the trees; the wounded deer that leaves its cruel kind to die alone; the despairing, flying fox with its pursuing train of savage dogs and men. And the jutting crag whence had shone the camp-fire she had so often watched--her star, set forever--looked far over the valley beneath, where in one of those sad little rural graveyards she had been laid so long ago.

Page 223

        But Reginald Chevis has never forgotten her. Whenever he sees the earliest star spring into the evening sky, he remembers the answering red gleam of that star in the valley.

Page 224



        THIS morning, the third of June, the Undine from Green River rose above the waves.

        The strawberry bed is almost under their windows. I had gone out to pick the first dish of the season for breakfast; for while I do not care to eat except to live, I never miss an opportunity of living upon strawberries.

        I was stopping down and bending the wet leaves over, so as not to miss any, when a voice at the window above said, timidly and playfully:

        "Are you the gardener?"

        I picked on, turning as red as the berries. Then the voice said again:

        "Old man, are you the gardener?"

        Of course a person looking down carelessly on the stooping figure of any man and seeing nothing but a faded straw hat, and arms and feet and ankles bent together, might easily think him decrepit with age. Some things touch off my temper. But I answered humbly:

        "I am the gardener, madam."

        "How much do you ask for your strawberries?"

        "The gentleman who owns this place does not sell his strawberries. He gives them away, if he likes people. How much do you ask for your strawberries?"

        "What a nice old gentleman! Is he having those picked to give away?"

        From A Kentucky Cardinal. By permission of The Macmillan Company.

Page 225

        "He is having these picked for his breakfast."

        "Don't you think he'd like you to give me those, and pick him some more?"

        "I fear not, madam."

        "Nevertheless, you might. He'd never know."

        "I think he'd find it out."

        "You are not afraid of him, are you?"

        "I am when he gets mad."

        "Does he treat you badly?"

        "If he does, I always forgive him."

        "He doesn't seem to provide you with very many clothes."

        I picked on.

        "But you seem nicely fed."

        I picked on.

        "What is his name, old man? Don't you like to talk?"

        "Adam Moss."

        "Such a green, cool, soft name! It is like his house and yard and garden. What does he do?"

        "Whatever he pleases."

        "You must not be impertinent to me, or I'll tell him. What does he like?"

        "Birds--red-birds. What do you like?"

        "Red-birds! How does he catch them? Throw salt on their tails?"

        "He is a lover of Nature, madam, and particularly of birds."

        "What does he know about birds? Doesn't he care for people?"

        "He doesn't think many worth caring for."

        "Indeed! And he is perfect, then, is he?"

        "He thinks he is nearly as bad as any; but that doesn't make the rest any better."

Page 226

        "Poor old gentleman! He must have the blues dreadfully. What does he do with his birds? Eat his robins, and stuff his cats, and sell his red-birds in cages?"

        "He considers it part of his mission in life to keep them from being eaten or stuffed or caged."

        "And you say he is nearly a hundred?"

        "He is something over thirty years of age, madam."

        "Thirty! Surely we heard he was very old. Thirty! And does he live in that beautiful little old house all by himself?"

        "I live with him!"

        "You! Ha! ha! ha! And what is your name, you dear good old man?"


        "Two Adams living in the same house! Are you the old Adam? I have heard so much of him."

        At this I rose, pushed back my hat, and looked up at her.

        "I am Adam Moss," I said, with distant politeness. "You can have these strawberries for your breakfast if you want them."

        There was a low quick "Oh!" and she was gone, and the curtains closed over her face. It was rude; but neither ought she to have called me the old Adam. I have been thinking of one thing: why should she speak slightingly of my knowledge of birds? What does she know about them? I should like to inquire.

        Late this afternoon I dressed up in my high gray wool hat, my fine long-tailed blue cloth coat with brass buttons, my pink waistcoat, frilled shirt, white cravat, and yellow nankeen trousers, and walked slowly several times around my strawberry bed. Did not see any more ripe strawberries.

Page 227



        AGAIN he was returning to Kingsborough. The familiar landscape rushed by him on either side--green meadow and russet woodland, gray swamp and dwarfed brown hill, unploughed common and sun-ripened field of corn. It was like the remembered features of a friend, when the change that startles the unaccustomed eye seems to exist less in the well-known face than in the image we have carried in our thoughts.

        It was all there as it had been in his youth--the same and yet not the same. The old fields were tilled, the old lands ran waste in broomsedge, but he himself had left his boyhood far behind--it was his own vision that was altered, not the face of nature. The commons were not so wide as he had thought them, the hills not so high, the hollows not so deep--even the blue horizon had drawn a closer circle.

        A man on his way to the water-cooler stopped abruptly at his side. "Well, I declar, if 'tain't the governor!"

        Nicholas looked up, and recognizing Jerry Pollard, shook his outstretched hand. "When did you leave Kingsborough?" he inquired.

        From The Voice of the People. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.

Page 228

        "Oh, I jest ran up this morning to lay in a stock of winter goods. Trade's thriving this year, and you have to hustle if you want to keep up with the tastes of yo' customers. Times have changed since I had you in my sto'."

        "I dare say. I am glad to hear that you are doing well. Was the judge taken ill before you left Kingsborough?"

        "The judge? Is he sick? I ain't heard nothin' 'bout it. It wa'n't more'n a week ago that I told him he was lookin' as young as he did befo' the war. It ain't often a man can keep his youth like that--but his Cæsar is just such another. Cæsar was an old man as far back as I remember, and, bless you, he's spryer than I am this minute. He'll live to be a hundred and die of an accident."

        "That's good," said the governor with rising interest. "Kingsborough's a fine place to grow old in. Did you bring any news up with you?"

        "Well, I reckon not. Things were pretty lively down there last night, but they'd quieted down this morning. They brought a man over from Hagersville, you know, and befo' I shut up sto' last evening Jim Brown came to town, talkin' mighty big 'bout stringin' up the fellow. Jim always did talk, though, so nobody thought much of it. He likes to get his mouth in, but he's right particular 'bout his hand. The sheriff said he warn't lookin' for trouble."

        "I'm glad it's over," said the governor. The train was nearing Kingsborough, and as it stopped he rose and followed Jerry Pollard to the station.

        There was no one he knew in sight, and, with his bag in his hand, he walked rapidly to the judge's house. His anxiety had caused him to quicken his pace, but

Page 229

when he had opened the gate and ascended the steps he hesitated before entering the hall, and his breath came shortly. Until that instant he had not realized the strength of the tie that bound him to the judge.

        The hall was dim and cool, as it had been that May afternoon when his feet had left tracks of dust on the shining floor. Straight ahead he saw the garden, lying graceless and deserted, with the unkemptness of extreme old age. A sharp breeze blew from door to door, and the dried grasses on the wall stirred with a sound like that of the wind among a bed of rushes.

        He mounted the stairs slowly, the weight of his tread creaking the polished wood. Before the threshold of the judge's room again he hesitated, his hand upraised. The house was so still that it seemed to be untenanted, and he shivered suddenly, as if the wind that rustled the dried grasses were a ghostly footstep. Then, as he glanced back down the wide old stairway, his own childhood looked up at him--an alien figure, half frightened by the silence.

        As he stood there the door opened noiselessly, and the doctor came out, peering with short-sighted eyes over his lowered glasses. When he ran against Nicholas, he coughed uncertainly and drew back. "Well, well, if it isn't the governor!" he said. "We have been looking for Tom--but our friend the judge is better--much better. I tell him he'll live yet to see us buried."

        A load passed suddenly from Nicholas's mind. The ravaged face of the old doctor--with its wrinkled forehead and its almost invisible eyes--became at once the mask of a good angel. He grasped the outstretched hand and crossed the threshold.

        The judge was lying among the pillows of his bed, his eyes closed, his great head motionless. There was a

Page 230

bowl of yellow chrysanthemums on a table beside him, and near it Mrs. Burwell was measuring dark drops into a wineglass. She looked up with a smile of welcome that cast a cheerful light about the room. Her smile and the color of the chrysanthemums were in Nicholas's eyes as he went to the bed and laid his hand upon the still fingers that clasped the counterpane.

        The judge looked at him with a wavering recognition. "Ah, it is you, Tom," he said, and there was a yearning in his voice that fell like a gulf between him and the man who was not his son. At the moment it came to Nicholas with a great bitterness that his share of the judge's heart was the share of an outsider--the crumbs that fall to the beggar that waits beside the gate. When the soul has entered the depths and looks back again it is the face of its own kindred that it craves--the responsive throbbing of its own blood in another's veins. This was Tom's place, not his.

        He leaned nearer, speaking in an expressionless voice. "It's I, sir--Nicholas--Nicholas Burr."

        "Yes, Nicholas," repeated the judge doubtfully; "yes, I remember, what does he want? Amos Burr's son--we must give him a chance."

        For a moment he wandered on; then his memory returned in uncertain pauses. He looked again at the younger man, his sight grown stronger. "Why, Nicholas, my dear boy, this is good of you," he exclaimed. "I had a fall--a slight fall of no consequence. I shall be all right if Cæsar will let me fast awhile. Cæsar's getting old, I fear, he moves so slowly."

        He was silent, and Nicholas, sitting beside the bed, kept his eyes on the delicate features that were the lingering survival of a lost type. The splendid breadth of the brow, the classic nose, the firm, thin lips, and the

Page 231

shaven chin--these were all down-stairs on faded canvases, magnificent over lace ruffles, or severe above folded stocks. Over the pillows the chrysanthemums shed a golden light that mingled in his mind with the warm brightness of Mrs. Burwell's smile--giving the room the festive glimmer of an autumn garden.

        A little later Cæsar shuffled forward, the wineglass in his hand. The judge turned toward him. "Is that you, Cæsar?" he asked.

        The old negro hurried to the bedside. "Here I is, Marse George; I'se right yer."

        The judge laughed softly. "I wouldn't take five thousand dollars for you, Cæsar," he said. "Tom Battle offered me one thousand for you, and I told him I wouldn't take five. You are worth it, Cæsar--every cent of it--but there's no man alive shall own you. You're free, Cæsar--do you hear, you're free!"

        "Thanky, Marse George," said Cæsar. He passed his arm under the judge's head and raised him as he would a child. As the glass touched his lips the judge spoke in a clear voice. "To the ladies!" he cried.

        "He is regaining the use of his limbs," whispered Mrs. Burwell softly. "He will be well again," and Nicholas left the room and went down-stairs. At the door he gave his instructions to a woman servant. "I shall return to spend the night," he said. "You will see that my room is ready. Yes, I'll be back to supper." He had had no dinner, but at the moment this was forgotten. In the relief that had come to him he wanted solitude and the breadth of the open fields. He was going over the old ground again--to breathe the air and feel the dust of the Old Stage Road.

        He passed the naked walls of the church and followed

Page 232

the wide white street to the college gate. Then, turning, he faced the way to his father's farm and the distant pines emblazoned on the west.

        A clear gold light flooded the landscape, warming the pale dust of the deserted road. The air was keen with the autumn tang, and as he walked the quick blood leaped to his cheeks. He was no longer conscious of his forty years--his boyhood was with him, and middle age was a dream, or less than a dream.

        In the branch road a fall of tawny leaves hid the ruts of wheels, and the sun, striking the ground like a golden lance, sent out sharp, fiery sparks as from a mine of light. Overhead the red trees rustled.

        It was here that Eugenia had ridden beside him in the early morning--here he had seen her face against the enkindled branches--and here he had placed the scarlet gum leaves in her horse's bridle. The breeze in the wood came to him like the echo of her laugh, faded as the memory of his past passion. Well, he had more than most men, for he had the ghost of a laugh and the shadow of love.

        Passing his father's house, he went on beyond the fallen shanty of Uncle Ish into the twilight of the cedars. At the end of the avenue he saw the rows of box--twisted and tall with age--leading to the empty house, where the stone steps were wreathed in vines. Did Eugenia ever come back, he wondered, or was the house to crumble as Miss Chris's rockery had done? On the porch he saw the marks made by the general's chair, which had been removed, and on one of the long green benches there was an E cut in a childish hand. At a window above--Eugenia's window--a shutter hung back upon its hinges, and between the muslin curtains it seemed to him that a face looked out and smiled--not

Page 233

the face of Eugenia, but a ghost again, the ghost of his old romance.

        He went into the garden, crossing the cattle lane, where the footprints of the cows were fresh in the dust. Near at hand he heard a voice shouting. It was the voice of the overseer, but the sound startled him, and he a woke abruptly to himself and his forty years. The spell of the past was broken--even the riotous old garden, blending its many colors in a single blur, could not bring it back. The chrysanthemums and the roses and the hardy zenias that came up uncared for were powerless to reinvoke the spirit of the place. If Eugenia, in her full-blown motherhood, had risen in an overgrown path he might have passed her by unheeding. His Eugenia was a girl in a muslin gown, endowed with immortal youth--the youth of visions unfulfilled and desire unquenched. His Eugenia could never grow old--could never alter--could never leave the eternal sunshine of dead autumns. In his nostrils was the keen sweetness of old-fashioned flowers, but his thoughts were not of them, and, turning presently, he went back as he had come. It was dark when at last he reached the judge's house and sat down to supper.

        He was with the judge until midnight, when, before going to his room, he descended the stairs and went out upon the porch. He had been thinking of the elections three days hence, and the outcome seemed to him more hopeful than it had done when he first came forward as a candidate. The uncertainty was almost as great, this he granted; but behind him he believed to be the pressure of the people's will--which the schemes of politicians had not turned. Tuesday would prove nothing--nor had the conventions that had been held; when the meeting of the caucus came, he would still be

Page 234

in ignorance--unaware of traps that had been laid or surprises to be sprung. It was the mark to which his ambition had aimed--the end to which his career had faced--that now rose before him, and yet in his heart there was neither elation nor distrust. He had done his best--he had fought fairly and well, and he awaited what the day might bring forth.

        Above him a full moon was rising, and across the green the crooked path wound like a silver thread, leading to the glow of a night-lamp that burned in a sick-room. The night, the air, the shuttered houses were as silent as the churchyard, where the tombstones glimmered, row on row. Only somewhere on the vacant green a hound bayed at the moon.

        He looked out an instant longer, and was turning back, when his eye caught a movement among the shadows in the distant lane. A quick thought came to him, and he kept his gaze beneath the heavy maples, where the moonshine fell in flecks. For a moment all was still, and then into the light came the figure of a man. Another followed, another, and another, passing again into the dark and then out into the brightness that led into the little gully far beyond. There was no sound except the baying of the dog; the figures went on, noiseless and orderly and grim, from dark to light and from light again to dark. There were at most a dozen men, and they might have been a band of belated workmen returning to their homes or a line of revellers that had been sobered into silence. They might have been--but a sudden recollection came to him, and he closed the door softly and went out. There was but one thing that it meant; this he knew. It meant a midnight attack on the jail, and a man dead before morning who must die anyway--it meant vengeance so quiet yet so

Page 235

determined that it was as sure as the hand of God--and it meant the defiance of laws whose guardian he was.

        He broke into a run, crossing the green and following the path that rose and fell into the gullies as it led on to the jail. As he ran he saw the glow of the night-lamp in the sick-room, and he heard the insistent baying of the hound.

        The moonlight was thick and full. It showed the quiet hill flanked by the open pasture; and it showed the little whitewashed jail, and the late roses blooming on the fence. It showed also the mob that had gathered--a gathering as quiet as a congregation at prayer. But in the silence was the danger--the determination to act that choked back speech--the grimness of the justice that walks at night--the triumph of a lawless rage that knows control.

        As he reached the hill he saw that the men he had followed had been re-enforced by others from different roads. It was not an outbreak of swift desperation, but a well-planned, well-ordered strategy; it was not a mob that he faced, but an incarnate vengeance.

        He came upon it quickly, and as he did so he saw that the sheriff was ahead of him, standing, a single man, between his prisoner and the rope. "For God's sake, men, I haven't got the keys," he called out.

        Nicholas swung himself over the fence and made his way to the entrance beneath the steps that led to the floor above. He had come as one of the men about him, and they had not heeded him. Now, as he faced them from the shadow, he saw here and there a familiar face--the face of a boy he had played with in childhood. Several were masked, but the others raised bare features to the moonlight--features that were as familiar as his own.

Page 236

        Then he stood up and spoke. "Men, listen to me. In the name of the Law, I swear to you that justice shall be done--I swear."

        A voice came from somewhere. "We ain't here to talk--you stand aside, and we'll show you what we're here for."

        Again he began. "I swear to you--"

        "We don't want no swearing." On the outskirts of the crowd a man laughed. "We don't want no swearing," the voice repeated.

        The throng pressed forward, and he saw the faces that he knew crowding closer. A black cloud shut out the moonlight. Above the pleading of the sheriff's tones he heard the distant baying of the hound.

        He tried to speak again. "We'll be damned, but we'll get the nigger!" called some one beside him. The words struck him like a blow. He saw red, and the sudden rage upheld him. He knew that he was to fight--a blind fight for he cared not what. The old savage instinct blazed within him--the instinct to do battle to death--to throttle with his single hand the odds that opposed. With a grip of iron he braced himself against the doorway, covering the entrance.

        "I'll be damned if you do!" he thundered.

        A quick shot rang out sharply. The flash blinded him, and the smoke hung in his face. Then the moon shone and he heard a cry--the cry of a well-known voice.

        "By God, it's Nick Burr!" it said. He took a step forward.

        "Boys, I am Nick Burr," he cried, and he went down in the arms of the mob.

        They raised him up, and he stood erect between the leaders. There was blood on his lips, but a man

Page 237

tore off a mask and wiped it away. "By God, it's Nick Burr!" he exclaimed as he did so.

        Nicholas recognized his voice and smiled. His face was gray, but his eyes were shining, and as he steadied himself with all his strength, he said with a laugh, "There's no harm done, man." But when they laid him down a moment later he was dead.

        He lay in the narrow path between the doorstep and the gate where roses bloomed. Some one had started for the nearest house, but the crowd stood motionless about him. "By God, it's Nick Burr!" repeated the man who had held him.

        The sheriff knelt on the ground and raised him in his arms. As he folded his coat about him he looked up and spoke.

        "And he died for a damned brute," was what he said.

Page 239



Page 241




                       BUT let our fears--if fears we have--be still,
                       And turn us to the future! Could we climb
                       Some mighty Alp, and view the coming time,
                       The rapturous sight would fill
                       Our eyes with happy tears!
                       Not only for the glories which the years
                       Shall bring us; not for lands from sea to sea,
                       And wealth, and power, and peace, though these shall be;
                       But for the distant peoples we shall bless,
                       And the hushed murmurs of a world's distress:
                       For, to give labor to the poor,
                       The whole sad planet o'er,
                       And save from want and crime the humblest door,
                       Is one among the many ends for which
                       God makes us great and rich!
                       The hour perchance is not yet wholly ripe
                       When all shall own it, but the type

Page 242

                       Whereby we shall be known in every land
                       Is that vast gulf which lips our Southern strand,
                       And through the cold, untempered ocean pours
                       Its genial streams, that far-off Arctic shores
                       May sometimes catch upon the softened breeze
                       Strange tropic warmth and hints of summer seas.

        1 Birth of a nation. This poem was written during the meeting of the first Southern Congress held at Montgomery, Alabama, February, 1861, and was an outburst of joy and praise that the South had become a nation. Only the last stanza is here used.

        By permission of the B. F. Johnson Company.



                       LAND of the South!--imperial land!--
                       How proud thy mountains rise!--
                       How sweet thy scenes on every hand!
                       How fair thy covering skies!
                       But not for this,--oh, not for these,
                       I love thy fields to roam,--
                       Thou hast a dearer spell to me,--
                       Thou art my native home!

                       The rivers roll their liquid wealth,
                       Unequalled to the sea,--
                       Thy hills and valleys bloom with health,
                       And green with verdure be!
                       But, not for thy proud ocean streams,
                       Not for thine azure dome,--
                       Sweet, sunny South!--I cling to thee,--
                       Thou art my native home!

                       I've stood beneath Italia's clime,
                       Beloved of tale and song,--
                       On Helvyn's hills, proud and sublime,
                       Where nature's wonders throng;

Page 243

                       By Tempe's classic sunlit streams,
                       Where Gods, of old, did roam,--
                       But ne'er have found so fair a land
                       As thou--my native home!

                       And thou hast prouder glories too,
                       Than nature ever gave,--
                       Peace sheds o'er thee her genial dew,
                       And Freedom's pinions wave,--
                       Fair Science flings her pearls around,
                       Religion lifts her dome,--
                       These, these endear thee to my heart,--
                       My own, loved native home!

                       And "heaven's best gift to man" is thine,--
                       God bless thy rosy girls!--
                       Like sylvan flowers, they sweetly shine,--
                       Their hearts are pure as pearls!
                       And grace and goodness circle them,
                       Where'er their footsteps roam--
                       How can I then, whilst loving them,
                       Not love my native home!

                       Land of the South!--imperial land!--
                       Then here's a health to thee,--
                       Long as thy mountain barriers stand,
                       May'st thou be blest and free!--
                       May dark dissension's banner ne'er
                       Wave o'er thy fertile loam,--
                       But should it come, there's one will die,
                       To save his native home!

Page 244



                       WHILE I recline
                       At ease beneath
                       This immemorial pine,
                       Small sphere!
                       (By dusky fingers brought this morning here
                       And shown with boastful smiles),
                       I turn thy cloven sheath,
                       Through which the soft white fibres peer,
                       That, with their gossamer bands,
                       Unite, like love, the sea-divided lands,
                       And slowly, thread by thread,
                       Draw forth the folded strands,
                       Than which the trembling line,
                       By whose frail help yon startled spider fled
                       Down the tall spear-grass from his swinging bed,
                       Is scarce more fine;
                       And as the tangled skein
                       Unravels in my hands,
                       Betwixt me and the noonday light,
                       A veil seems lifted, and for miles and miles
                       The landscape broadens on my sight,
                       As, in the little boll, there lurked a spell
                       Like that which, in the ocean shell,
                       With mystic sound,
                       Breaks down the narrow walls that hem us round,
                       And turns some city lane
                       Into the restless main,
                       With all his capes and isles!

Page 245

                       Yonder bird,
                       Which floats, as if at rest,
                       In those blue tracts above the thunder, where
                       No vapors cloud the stainless air,
                       And never sound is heard,
                       Unless at such rare time
                       When, from the City of the Blest,
                       Rings down some golden chime,
                       Sees not from his high place
                       So vast a cirque1 of summer space
                       As widens round me in one mighty field,
                       Which, rimmed by seas and sands,
                       Doth hail its earliest daylight in the beams
                       Of gray Atlantic dawns;
                       And, broad as realms made up of many lands,
                       Is lost afar
                       Behind the crimson hills and purple lawns
                       Of sunset, among plains which roll their streams
                       Against the Evening Star!
                       And lo!
                       To the remotest point of sight,
                       Although I gaze upon no waste of snow,
                       The endless field is white;
                       And the whole landscape glows,
                       For many a shining league away,
                       With such accumulated light
                       As Polar lands would flash beneath a tropic day!
                       Nor lack there (for the vision grows,
                       And the small charm within my hands--
                       More potent even than the fabled one,
                       Which oped whatever golden mystery
                       Lay hid in fairy wood or magic vale,
                       The curious ointment of the Arabian tale--

Page 246

                       Beyond all mortal sense
                       Doth stretch my sight's horizon, and I see,
                       Beneath its simple influence,
                       As if with Uriel's2 crown,
                       I stood in some great temple of the Sun,
                       And looked, as Uriel, down!)
                       Nor lacked there pastures rich and fields all green
                       With all the common gifts of God,
                       For temperate airs and torrid sheen
                       Weave Edens of the sod;
                       Through lands which look one sea of billowy gold
                       Broad rivers wind their devious ways;
                       A hundred isles in their embraces fold
                       A hundred luminous bays;
                       And through yon purple haze
                       Vast mountains lift their plumèd peaks cloud-crowned;
                       And, save where up their sides the ploughman creeps,
                       An unhewn forest girds them grandly round,
                       In whose dark shades a future navy sleeps!
                       Ye Stars, which, though unseen, yet with me gaze
                       Upon this loveliest fragment of the earth!
                       Thou Sun, that kindlest all thy gentlest rays
                       Above it, as to light a favorite hearth!
                       Ye Clouds, that in your temples in the West
                       See nothing brighter than its humblest flowers!
                       And you, ye Winds, that on the ocean's breast
                       Are kissed to coolness ere ye reach its bowers!
                       Bear witness with me in my song of praise,
                       And tell the world that, since the world began,
                       No fairer land hath fired a poet's lays,
                       Or given a home to man!
                       But these are charms already widely blown!

Page 247

                       His be the meed whose pencil's trace
                       Hath touched our very swamps with grace,
                       And round whose tuneful way
                       All Southern laurels bloom;
                       The Poet3 of "The Woodlands," unto whom
                       Alike are known
                       The flute's low breathing and the trumpet's tone,
                       And the soft west wind's sighs;
                       But who shall utter all the debt,
                       O land wherein all powers are met
                       That bind a people's heart,
                       The world doth owe thee at this day,
                       And which it never can repay,
                       Yet scarcely deigns to own!
                       Where sleeps the poet who shall fitly sing
                       The source wherefrom doth spring
                       That mighty commerce which, confined
                       To the mean channels of no selfish mart,
                       Goes out to every shore
                       Of this broad earth, and throngs the sea with ships
                       That bear no thunders; hushes hungry lips
                       In alien lands;
                       Joins with a delicate web remotest strands;
                       And gladdening rich and poor,
                       Doth gild Parisian domes,
                       Or feed the cottage-smoke of English homes,
                       And only bounds its blessings by mankind!
                       In offices like these thy mission lies,
                       My Country! and it shall not end
                       As long as rain shall fall and Heaven bend
                       In blue above thee; though thy foes be hard
                       And cruel as their weapons, it shall guard
                       Thy hearth-stones as a bulwark; make thee great

Page 248

                       In white and bloodless state;
                       And haply, as the years increase--
                       Still working through its humbler reach
                       With that large wisdom which the ages teach--
                       Revive the half-dead dream of universal peace!
                       As men who labor in that mine
                       Of Cornwall, hollowed out beneath the bed
                       Of ocean, when a storm rolls overhead,
                       Hear the dull booming of the world of brine
                       Above them, and a mighty muffled roar
                       Of winds and waters, yet toil calmly on,
                       And split the rock, and pile the massive ore,
                       Or carve a niche, or shape the archèd roof;
                       So I, as calmly, weave my woof
                       Of song, chanting the days to come,
                       Unsilenced, though the quiet summer air
                       Stirs with the bruit of battles, and each dawn
                       Wakes from its starry silence to the hum
                       Of many gathering armies. Still,
                       In that we sometimes hear,
                       Upon the Northern winds, the voice of woe
                       Not wholly drowned in triumph, though I know
                       The end must crown us, and a few brief years
                       Dry all our tears,
                       I may not sing too gladly. To Thy will
                       Resigned, O Lord! we cannot all forget
                       That there is much even Victory must regret.
                       And, therefore, not too long
                       From the great burthen of our country's wrong
                       Delay our just release!
                       And, if it may be, save
                       These sacred fields of peace
                       From stain of patriot or of hostile blood!
                       Oh, help us, Lord! to roll the crimson flood

Page 249

                       Back on its course, and while our banners wing
                       Northward, strike with us! till the Goth4 shall cling
                       To his own blasted altar-stones, and crave
                       Mercy; and we shall grant it, and dictate
                       The lenient future of his fate
                       There, where some rotting ships and crumbling quays
                       Shall one day mark the Port which ruled the Western seas.

        1 A circular valley.

        2 One of the seven archangels nearest God's throne. See Paradise Lost.

        3 William Gilmore Simms.

        4 Goth, used metaphorically in reference to the Northern soldiers of the Civil War.

        By permission of the B. F. Johnson Company.



                       SPRING, with that nameless pathos in the air
                       Which dwells with all things fair,
                       Spring, with her golden suns, and silver rain,
                       Is with us once again.

                       Out in the lonely woods the jasmine burns
                       Its fragrant lamps, and turns
                       Into a royal court with green festoons
                       The banks of dark lagoons.

                       In the deep heart of every forest tree
                       The blood is all aglee,
                       And there's a look about the leafless bowers
                       As if they dreamed of flowers.

Page 250

                       Yet still on every side we trace the hand
                       Of Winter in the land,
                       Save where the maple reddens on the lawn,
                       Flushed by the season's dawn;

                       Or where, like those strange semblances we find
                       That age to childhood bind,
                       The elm puts on, as if in Nature's scorn,
                       The brown of Autumn corn.

                       As yet the turf is dark, although you know
                       That, not a span below,
                       A thousand germs are groping through the gloom,
                       And soon will burst their tomb.

                       Already, here and there, on frailest stems
                       Appear some azure gems,
                       Small as might deck, upon a gala day,
                       The forehead of a fay.

                       In gardens you may note amid the dearth
                       The crocus breaking earth;
                       And near the snowdrop's tender white and green
                       The violet in its screen.

                       But many gleams and shadows need must pass
                       Along the budding grass,
                       And weeks go by, before the enamoured South1
                       Shall kiss the rose's mouth.

                       Still there's a sense of blossoms yet unborn
                       In the sweet airs of morn;
                       One almost looks to see the very street
                       Grow purple at his feet.

Page 251

                       At times a fragrant breeze comes floating by,
                       And brings, you know not why,
                       A feeling as when eager crowds await
                       Before a palace gate

                       Some wondrous pageant; and you scarce would start,
                       If from a beech's heart,
                       A blue-eyed Dryad, stepping forth, should say,
                       "Behold me! I am May!"

                       Ah! who would couple thoughts of war and crime
                       With such a blessèd time!
                       Who in the west wind's aromatic breath
                       Could hear the call of Death!

                       Yet not more surely shall the Spring awake
                       The voice of wood and brake,
                       Than she shall rouse, for all her tranquil charms,
                       A million men to arms.

                       There shall be deeper hues upon her plains
                       Than all her sunlit rains,
                       And every gladdening influence around,
                       Can summon from the ground.

                       Oh! standing on this desecrated mould,
                       Methinks that I behold,
                       Lifting her bloody daisies up to God,
                       Spring kneeling on the sod,

                       And calling, with the voice of all her rills,
                       Upon the ancient hills
                       To fall and crush the tyrants and the slaves
                       Who turn her meads to graves.

        1 The south wind.

        By permission of the B. F. Johnson Company.

Page 252



                       OUT of the hills of Habersham,
                       Down the valleys of Hall,
                       I hurry amain to reach the plain,
                       Run the rapid and leap the fall,
                       Split at the rock and together again,
                       Accept my bed, or narrow or wide,
                       And flee from folly on every side
                       With a lover's pain to attain the plain
                       Far from the hills of Habersham,
                       Far from the valleys of Hall.

                       All down the hills of Habersham,
                       All through the valleys of Hall,
                       The rushes cried Abide, abide,
                       The wilful waterweeds held me thrall,
                       The laving laurel turned my tide,
                       The ferns and the fondling grass said Stay,
                       The dewberry dipped for to work delay,
                       And the little reeds sighed Abide, abide,
                       Here in the hills of Habersham,
                       Here in the valleys of Hall.

                       High o'er the hills of Habersham,
                       Veiling the valleys of Hall,
                       The hickory told me manifold
                       Fair tales of shade, the poplar tall

Page 253

                       Wrought me her shadowy self to hold,
                       The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,
                       Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,
                       Said, Pass not, so cold, these manifold
                       Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,
                       These glades in the valleys of Hall.

                       And oft in the hills of Habersham,
                       And oft in the valleys of Hall,
                       The white quartz shone, and the smooth brook-stone
                       Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl,
                       And many a luminous jewel lone
                       --Crystals clear or a-cloud with mist,
                       Ruby, garnet, and amethyst--
                       Made lures with the lights of streaming stone
                       In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,
                       In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

                       But oh, not the hills of Habersham,
                       And oh, not the valleys of Hall
                       Avail: I am fain for to water the plain.
                       Downward the voices of Duty call--
                       Downward, to toil and be mixed with the main,
                       The dry fields burn, and the mills are to turn,
                       And a myriad flowers mortally yearn,
                       And the lordly main from beyond the plain
                       Calls o'er the hills of Habersham,
                       Calls through the valleys of Hall.

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 254



                       TALL, sombre, grim, against the morning sky
                       They rise, scarce touched by melancholy airs,
                       Which stir the fadeless foliage dreamfully,
                       As if from realms of mythical despairs.

                       Tall, sombre, grim, they stand with dusky gleams
                       Brightening to gold within the woodland's core,
                       Beneath the gracious noontide's tranquil beams--
                       But the weird winds of morning sigh no more.

                       A stillness, strange, divine, ineffable,
                       Broods round and o'er them in the wind's surcease,
                       And on each tinted copse and shimmering dell
                       Rests the mute rapture of deep-hearted peace.

                       Last, sunset comes--the solemn joy and might
                       Borne from the west when cloudless day declines--
                       Low, flutelike breezes sweep the waves of light,
                       And lifting dark green tresses of the pines,

                       Till every lock is luminous--gently float,
                       Fraught with hale odors up the heavens afar,
                       To faint when Twilight on her virginal throat
                       Wears for a gem the tremulous vesper star.

        By permission of Lothrop, Lee and Shepard.

Page 255



                       WHEN wintry days are dark and drear
                       And all the forest ways grow still,
                       When gray snow-laden clouds appear
                       Along the bleak horizon hill,
                       When cattle all are snugly penned
                       And sheep go huddling close together,
                       When steady streams of smoke ascend
                       From farm-house chimneys--in such weather
                       Give me old Carolina's own,
                       A great log house, a great hearthstone,
                       A cheering pipe of cob or brier
                       And a red, leaping light'ood fire.

                       When dreary day draws to a close
                       And all the silent land is dark,
                       When Boreas1 down the chimney blows
                       And sparks fly from the crackling bark,
                       When limbs are bent with snow or sleet
                       And owls hoot from the hollow tree,
                       With hounds asleep about your feet,
                       Then is the time for reverie.
                       Give me old Carolina's own,
                       A hospitable wide hearthstone,
                       A cheering pipe of cob or brier
                       And a red, rousing light'ood fire.

        1 Boreas; the North wind.

        From Boner's Lyrics. By permission of Mrs. John Henry Boner.

Page 256



                       THE thought of old, dear things is in thine eyes,
                       O month of memories!
                       Musing on days thine heart hath sorrow of,
                       Old joy, dead hope, dear love.

                       I see thee stand where all thy sisters meet
                       To cast down at thy feet
                       The garnered-largess of the fruitful year,
                       And on thy cheek a tear.

                       Thy glory flames in every blade and leaf
                       To blind the eyes of grief;
                       Thy vineyards and thine orchards bend with fruit
                       That sorrow may be mute;

                       A hectic splendor lights thy days to sleep,
                       Ere the gray dusk may creep
                       Sober and sad along thy dusty ways,
                       Like a lone nun, who prays;

                       High and faint heard thy passing migrant calls;
                       Thy lazy lizard sprawls
                       On his gray stone, and many slow winds creep
                       About thy hedge, asleep;

                       The sun swings farther toward his love, the south,
                       To kiss her glowing mouth;

Page 257

                       And Death, who steals among thy purpling bowers,
                       Is deeply hid in flowers.

                       Would that thy streams were Lethe,1 and might flow
                       Where lotus blossoms blow,
                       And all the sweets wherewith thy riches bless
                       Might hold no bitterness!

                       Would, in thy beauty, we might all forget
                       Dead days and old regret,
                       And through thy realm might fare us forth to roam,
                       Having no thought for home!

                       And yet I feel, beneath thy queen's attire,
                       Woven of blood and fire,
                       Beneath the golden glory of thy charm
                       Thy mother heart beats warm.

                       And if, mayhap, a wandering child of thee,
                       Weary of land and sea,
                       Should turn him homeward from his dreamer's quest
                       To sob upon thy breast,

                       Thine arm would fold him tenderly, to prove
                       How thine eyes brimmed with love,
                       And thy dear hand, with all a mother's care,
                       Would rest upon his hair.

        1 Lethe: A river in the lower world from which the shades drank and obtained forgetfulness of the past.

        From Songs, Merry and Sad. By permission of Stone, Barringer and Company, Charlotte, N. C.

Page 258



                       'T WILL not be long before they hear
                       The bullbat on the hill,
                       And in the valley through the dusk
                       The pastoral whippoorwill.
                       A few more friendly suns will call
                       The bluets through the loam,
                       And star the lanes with buttercups
                       Away down home.

                       "Knee-deep!" from reedy places
                       Will sing the river frogs.
                       The terrapins will sun themselves
                       On all the jutting logs.
                       The angler's cautious oar will leave
                       A trail of drifting foam
                       Along the shady currents
                       Away down home.

                       The mocking-bird will feel again
                       The glory of his wings,
                       And wanton through the balmy air
                       And sunshine while he sings.
                       With a new cadence in his call,
                       The glint-wing'd crow will roam
                       From field to newly furrowed field
                       Away down home.

Page 259

                       When dogwood blossoms mingle
                       With the maple's modest red,
                       And sweet arbutus wakes at last
                       From out her winter's bed,
                       'T would not seem strange at all to meet
                       A dryad or a gnome,
                       Or Pan1 or Psyche2 in the woods
                       Away down home.

                       Then come with me, thou weary heart!
                       Forget thy brooding ills,
                       Since God has come to walk among
                       His valleys and his hills!
                       The mart will never miss thee,
                       Nor the scholar's dusty tome,
                       And the Mother waits to bless thee,
                       Away down home.

        1 The Greek god of the shepherds.

        2 The Greek personification of the human soul.

        From Songs, Merry and Sad. By permission of Stone, Barringer and Company.

Page 260



                       THE robin laughed in the orange-tree:
                       "Ho, windy North, a fig for thee:
                       While breasts are red and wings are bold
                       And green trees wave us globes of gold,
                       Time's scythe shall reap but bliss for me
                       --Sunlight, song, and the orange-tree.

                       "Burn, golden globes in leafy sky,
                       My orange-planets: crimson I
                       Will shine and shoot among the spheres
                       (Blithe meteor that no mortal fears)
                       And thrid1 the heavenly orange-tree
                       With orbits bright of minstrelsy.

                       "If that I hate wild winter's spite--
                       The gibbet trees, the world in white,
                       The sky but gray wind over a grave--
                       Why should I ache, the season's slave?
                       I'll sing from the top of the orange-tree,
                       Gramercy,2 winter's tyranny.

                       "I'll south with the sun, and keep my clime;
                       My wing is king of the summer-time;
                       My breast to the sun his torch shall hold;
                       And I'll call down through the green and gold,
                       Time, take thy scythe, reap bliss for me,
                       Bestir thee under the orange-tree."

        1 Thread.

        2 Have mercy.

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 261



                       ABOVE long woodland ways that led
                       To dells the stealthy twilights tread
                       The west was hot geranium-red;
                       And still, and still,
                       Along old lanes, the locusts sow
                       With clustered curls the May-times know,
                       Out of the crimson afterglow,
                       We heard the homeward cattle low,
                       And then the far-off, far-off woe
                       Of "whippoorwill!" of "whippoorwill!"

                       Beneath the idle beechen boughs
                       We heard the cow-bells of the cows
                       Come slowly jangling toward the house,
                       And still, and still,
                       Beyond the light that would not die
                       Out of the scarlet-haunted sky,
                       Beyond the evening star's white eye
                       Of glittering chalcedony,1
                       Drained out of dusk the plaintive cry
                       Of "whippoorwill!" of "whippoorwill!"

                       What is there in the moon, that swims
                       A naked bosom o'er the limbs,
                       That all the wood with magic dims?
                       While still, while still,

Page 262

                       Among the trees whose shadows grope
                       Mid ferns and flowers the dewdrops ope,--
                       Lost in faint deeps of heliotrope
                       Above the clover-scented slope,--
                       Retreats, despairing past all hope,
                       The whippoorwill, the whippoorwill.

        1 A variety of quartz.

        From Red Leaves and Roses. By permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons.



                       THOU glorious mocker of the world! I hear
                       Thy many voices ringing through the glooms
                       Of these green solitudes; and all the clear,
                       Bright joyance of their song enthralls the ear,
                       And floods the heart. Over the spherèd tombs
                       Of vanished nations rolls thy music-tide;
                       No light from History's starlit page illumes
                       The memory of these nations; they have died:
                       None care for them but thou; and thou mayst sing
                       O'er me, perhaps, as now thy clear notes ring
                       Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified.

                       Glad scorner of all cities! Thou dost leave
                       The world's mad turmoil and incessant din,
                       Where none in other's honesty believe,
                       Where the old sigh, the young turn gray and grieve,
                       Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within:
                       Thou fleest far into the dark green woods,
                       Where, with thy flood of music, thou canst win

Page 263

                       Their heart to harmony, and where intrudes
                       No discord on thy melodies. Oh, where,
                       Among the sweet musicians of the air,
                       Is one so dear as thou to these old solitudes?

                       Ha! what a burst was that! The æolian strain
                       Goes floating through the tangled passages
                       Of the still woods, and now it comes again,
                       A multitudinous melody,--like a rain
                       Of glassy music under echoing trees,
                       Close by a ringing lake. It wraps the soul
                       With a bright harmony of happiness,
                       Even as a gem is wrapped when round it roll
                       Thin waves of crimson flame; till we become
                       With the excess of perfect pleasure, dumb,
                       And pant like a swift runner clinging to the goal.

                       I cannot love the man who doth not love,
                       As men love light, the song of happy birds;
                       For the first visions that my boy heart wove
                       To fill its sleep with were that I did rove
                       Through the fresh woods, what time the snowy herds
                       Of morning clouds shrunk from the advancing sun
                       Into the depths of Heaven's blue heart, as words
                       From the Poet's lips float gently, one by one,
                       And vanish in the human heart; and then
                       I revelled in such songs, and sorrowed when,
                       With noon heat overwrought, the music gush was done.

                       I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee,
                       Amid the eloquent grandeur of these shades,
                       Alone with nature,--but it may not be;
                       I have to struggle with the stormy sea

Page 264

                       Of human life until existence fades
                       Into death's darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar
                       Through the thick woods and shadow-checkered glades,
                       While pain and sorrow cast no dimness o'er
                       The brilliance of thy heart; but I must wear,
                       As now, my garments of regret and care,--
                       As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore.

                       Yet why complain? What though fond hopes deferred
                       Have overshadowed Life's green paths with gloom?
                       Content's soft music is not all unheard;
                       There is a voice sweeter than thine, sweet bird,
                       To welcome me within my humble home;
                       There is an eye, with love's devotion bright,
                       The darkness of existence to illume.
                       Then why complain? When Death shall cast his blight
                       Over the spirit, my cold bones shall rest
                       Beneath these trees; and from thy swelling breast
                       Over them pour thy song, like a rich flood of light.

Page 265



                       WHY shines the moon so wan and white?
                       Why drift the shades so thick to-night
                       Beneath the winds that wail in flight
                       Across the sobbing foam?
                       I watched the happy swallows flee
                       Beyond the lurid autumn sea;
                       They fled and left the gloom to me,
                       Far--far from home.

                       Know'st thou that balmy Southern land,
                       By myrtle crowned, by zephyrs fanned,
                       Where verdant hills and forests grand
                       Smile 'neath an azure dome?
                       'Tis there the stars shed softer beams
                       As if to bless the woods and streams;
                       'Tis there I wander in my dreams,
                       Far--far from home.

                       I long to hear the murmuring pine,
                       To see the golden jasmine twine,
                       For there my fancy builds her shrine
                       Where'er my footsteps roam.
                       O sunny land, for thy sweet sake
                       A thousand tender memories wake;
                       For thee my heart is like to break,
                       Far--far from home.

        From Cap and Bells. By permission of the Frederick A. Stokes Company.

Page 266



                       WHEN I was a boy on the old plantation,
                       Down by the deep bayou,
                       The fairest spot of all creation,
                       Under the arching blue;
                       When the wind came over the cotton and corn,
                       To the long slim loop I'd spring
                       With brown feet bare, and a hat-brim torn,
                       And swing in the grapevine swing.

                       Swinging in the grapevine swing,
                       Laughing where the wild birds sing,
                       I dream and sigh
                       For the days gone by
                       Swinging in the grapevine swing.

                       Out--o'er the water-lilies bonny and bright,
                       Back--to the moss-grown trees;
                       I shouted and laughed with a heart as light
                       As a wild rose tossed by the breeze.
                       The mocking-bird joined in my reckless glee,
                       I longed for no angel's wing,
                       I was just as near heaven as I wanted to be
                       Swinging in the grapevine swing.

                       Swinging in the grapevine swing,
                       Laughing where the wild birds sing,--
                       Oh, to be a boy
                       With a heart full of joy,
                       Swinging in the grapevine swing!

Page 267

                       I'm weary at noon, I'm weary at night,
                       I'm fretted and sore of heart,
                       And care is sowing my locks with white
                       As I wend through the fevered mart.
                       I'm tired of the world with its pride and pomp,
                       And fame seems a worthless thing.
                       I'd barter it all for one day's romp.
                       And a swing in the grapevine swing.

                       Swinging in the grapevine swing,
                       Laughing where the wild birds sing,
                       I would I were away
                       From the world to-day,
                       Swinging in the grapevine swing.

        From Rings and Love-knots. Fourth edition. By permission of the Frederick A. Stokes Company.

Page 268




                       THE Knightliest of the Knightly race,
                       That since the days of old
                       Have kept the lamp of chivalry
                       Alight in hearts of gold.
                       The kindliest of the kindly band
                       That, rarely hating ease,
                       Yet rode with Raleigh1 round the land,
                       With Smith2 around the seas.

                       Who climbed the blue embattled hills
                       Against uncounted foes,
                       And planted there, in valleys fair,
                       The Lily and the Rose!
                       Whose fragrance lives in many lands,
                       Whose beauty stars the earth;
                       And lights the hearths of happy homes
                       With loveliness and worth!

                       We thought they slept! the men who kept
                       The names of noble sires,
                       And slumbered while the darkness crept
                       Around their vigil fires!

Page 269

                       But aye the golden horseshoe3 Knights
                       Their Old Dominion keep,
                       Whose foes have found enchanted ground,
                       But not a knight asleep.

        1 Sir Walter Raleigh.

        2 Captain John Smith.

        3 It is a tradition that the gentlemen who accompanied Governor Spotswood, of Virginia, in his expedition across the Blue Ridge Mountains, in 1716, received from him upon their return, golden horseshoes as souvenirs of the journey, and are therefore called Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.



                       THE muffled drum's sad roll has beat
                       The soldier's last tattoo;
                       No more on life's parade shall meet
                       That brave and fallen few.
                       On Fame's eternal camping-ground
                       Their silent tents are spread,
                       And Glory guards, with solemn round,
                       The bivouac of the dead.

                       No rumor of the foe's advance
                       Now swells upon the wind;
                       No troubled thought at midnight haunts
                       Of loved ones left behind;

Page 270

                       No vision of the morrow's strife
                       The warrior's dream alarms;
                       No braying horn nor screaming fife
                       At dawn shall call to arms.

                       Their shivered swords are red with rust,
                       Their plumèd heads are bowed;
                       Their haughty banner, trailed in dust,
                       Is now their martial shroud.
                       And plenteous funeral tears have washed
                       The red stains from each brow,
                       And the proud forms, by battle gashed,
                       Are free from anguish now.

                       The neighing troop, the flashing blade,
                       The bugle's stirring blast,
                       The charge, the dreadful cannonade,
                       The din and shout, are past;
                       Nor war's wild note, nor glory's peal
                       Shall thrill with fierce delight
                       Those breasts that nevermore may feel
                       The rapture of the fight.

                       Like the fierce northern hurricane
                       That sweeps this great plateau,
                       Flushed with the triumph yet to gain,
                       Came down the serried foe.
                       Who heard the thunder of the fray
                       Break o'er the field beneath,
                       Knew well the watchword of that day
                       Was "Victory or death."

                       Long has the doubtful conflict raged
                       O'er all that stricken plain,
                       For never fiercer fight had waged
                       The vengeful blood of Spain;

Page 271

                       And still the storm of battle blew,
                       Still swelled the gory tide;
                       Not long, our stout old chieftain2 knew,
                       Such odds his strength could bide.

                       'Twas in that hour his stern command
                       Called to a martyr's grave
                       The flower of his belovèd band
                       The nation's flag to save.
                       By rivers of their fathers' gore
                       His first-born laurels grew,
                       And well he deemed the sons would pour
                       Their lives for glory too.

                       Full many a norther's breath has swept
                       O'er Angostura's3 plain,
                       And long the pitying sky has wept
                       Above its mouldering slain.
                       The raven's scream, or eagle's flight,
                       Or shepherd's pensive lay,
                       Alone awakes each sullen height
                       That frowned o'er that dread fray.

                       Sons of the Dark and Bloody Ground,4
                       Ye must not slumber there,
                       Where stranger steps and tongues resound
                       Along the heedless air.
                       Your own proud land's heroic soil
                       Shall be your fitter grave;
                       She claims from War his richest spoil--
                       The ashes of her brave.

Page 272

                       Thus 'neath their parent turf they rest,
                       Far from the gory field;
                       Borne to a Spartan mother's breast
                       On many a bloody shield;
                       The sunlight of their native sky
                       Smiles sadly on them here,
                       And kindred eyes and hearts watch by
                       The heroes' sepulchre.

                       Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead,
                       Dear as the blood ye gave,
                       No impious footstep here shall tread
                       The herbage of your grave.
                       Nor shall your glory be forgot
                       While Fame her record keeps,
                       Or Honor points the hallowed spot
                       Where Valor proudly sleeps.

                       Yon marble minstrel's voiceless stone
                       In deathless song shall tell,
                       When many a vanished age hath flown,
                       The story how ye fell;
                       Nor wreck, nor change, nor winter's blight,
                       Nor Time's remorseless doom,
                       Shall dim one ray of glory's light
                       That gilds your glorious tomb.

        1 This poem was written on the occasion of bringing home the bodies of the Kentucky soldiers killed in the battle of Buena Vista, in the Mexican war.

        The Bivouac of the Dead is emblazoned on a monument on the Crimean battlefield, and appears over the gate of the National Cemetery, Arlington, at Washington, and on slabs along the drive-ways of several other national cemeteries.

        2 General Zachary Taylor.

        3 A pass near Buena Vista, occupied by a portion of the American army.

        4 "Kentucky," which is an Indian word, means "dark and bloody ground."

Page 273



                       SLEEP sweetly in your humble graves,
                       Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause;
                       Though yet no marble column craves
                       The pilgrim here to pause.

                       In seeds of laurel in the earth
                       The blossom of your fame is blown,
                       And somewhere, waiting for its birth,
                       The shaft is in the stone!

                       Meanwhile, behalf the tardy years
                       Which keep in trust your storied tombs,
                       Behold! your sisters bring their tears,
                       And these memorial blooms.

                       Small tributes! but your shades will smile
                       More proudly on these wreaths to-day,
                       Than when some cannon-moulded pile
                       Shall overlook this bay.

                       Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
                       There is no holier spot of ground
                       Than where defeated valor lies,
                       By mourning beauty crowned!

        1 Sung on the occasion of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, South Carolina, 1867.

        By permission of the B. F. Johnson Company.

Page 274



                       JUST as the spring came laughing through the strife,
                       With all its gorgeous cheer,
                       In the bright April of historic life
                       Fell the great cannoneer.

                       The wondrous lulling of a hero's breath
                       His bleeding country weeps;
                       Hushed in the alabaster arms of Death
                       Our Young Marcellus2 sleeps.

                       Nobler and grander than the child of Rome
                       Curbing his chariot steeds,
                       The knightly scion of a Southern home
                       Dazzled the land with deeds.

Page 275

                       Gentlest and bravest in the battle brunt--
                       The Champion of the Truth--
                       He bore his banner to the very front
                       Of our immortal youth.

                       A clang of sabres mid Virginian snow,
                       The fiery pang of shells,--
                       And there's a wail of immemorial woe
                       In Alabama dells:

                       The pennon droops that led the sacred band
                       Along the crimson field;
                       The meteor blade sinks from the nerveless hand,
                       Over the spotless shield.

                       We gazed and gazed upon that beauteous face,
                       While, round the lips and eyes,
                       Couched in their marble slumber, flashed the grace
                       Of a divine surprise.

                       O mother of a blessed soul on high,
                       Thy tears may soon be shed!
                       Think of thy boy, with princes of the sky,
                       Among the Southern dead.

                       How must he smile on this dull world beneath,
                       Fevered with swift renown,--
                       He, with the martyr's amaranthine3 wreath,
                       Twining the victor's crown!

        1 "Pelham was born in Calhoun County, Alabama, about 1841, and was a lad at West Point when the Civil War broke out. He was commissioned first lieutenant of artillery, and did so well that General 'Jeb' Stuart secured permission for him 'to recruit a battery of horse artillery to be attached to the cavalry.' His services were highly commended by Jackson, Longstreet, and Lee, and he was specially distinguished by his skill and daring at the battle of Fredericksburg, winning from Lee the sobriquet of 'the gallant Pelham.' He was killed at the cavalry fight at Kelly's Ford, March 17, 1863, and his death caused profound grief throughout the army. His body lay in state for two days in the Capitol at Richmond, and his promotion to be lieutenant-colonel was allowed to take effect after his death--a rare honor. He was only twenty-two, but Lee and Stuart praised him as though he were a scarred veteran, and all felt that the praise was deserved."--Trent's Southern Writers.

        2 The son-in-law of Augustus Cæsar, and son of his sister, Octavia; selected by Augustus as his successor, but died B. C. 23; immortalized by Vergil in the Æneid, book VI, lines 860-886.

        3 Undying.

        By permission of the John Murphy Company.

Page 276



                       To the brave all homage render,
                       Weep, ye skies of June!
                       With a radiance pure and tender,
                       Shine, oh saddened moon!
                       "Dead upon the field of glory,"
                       Hero fit for song and story,
                       Lies our bold dragoon.

                       Well they learned, whose hands have slain him,
                       Braver, knightlier foe
                       Never fought with Moor nor Paynim,2
                       Rode at Templestowe,3
                       With a mien how high and joyous,
                       'Gainst the hordes that would destroy us
                       Went he forth we know.

                       Never more, alas! shall sabre
                       Gleam around his crest;
                       Fought his fight; fulfilled his labor;
                       Stilled his manly breast.
                       All unheard sweet Nature's cadence,
                       Trump of fame and voice of maidens,
                       Now he takes his rest.

Page 277

                       Earth, that all too soon hath bound him,
                       Gently wrap his clay;
                       Linger lovingly around him,
                       Light of dying day;
                       Softly fall the summer showers;
                       Birds and bees among the flowers
                       Make the gloom seem gay.

                       There, throughout the coming ages,
                       When his sword is rust,
                       And his deeds in classic pages,
                       Mindful of her trust,
                       Shall Virginia, bending lowly,
                       Still a ceaseless vigil holy
                       Keep above his dust!

        1 Turner Ashby, of Virginia (1824-62), a brilliant cavalry general of the Confederate army, fought under Stonewall Jackson in the Valley of Virginia. He was killed near Harrisonburg, Virginia, June 6, 1862.

        2 Pagan.

        3 See Ivanhoe, chap. xliii.

Page 278



                       I READ the marble-lettered name,
                       And half in bitterness I said,
                       "As Dante from Ravenna2 came,
                       Our poet came from exile--dead."
                       And yet, had it been asked of him
                       Where he would rather lay his head,
                       This spot he would have chosen. Dim
                       The city's hum drifts o'er his grave,
                       And green above the hollies wave
                       Their jagged leaves, as when a boy,
                       On blissful summer afternoons,
                       He came to sing the birds his runes,
                       And tell the river of his joy.

                       Who dreams that in his wanderings wide
                       By stern misfortunes tossed and driven,
                       His soul's electric strands were riven
                       From home and country? Let betide
                       What might, what would, his boast, his pride,
                       Was in his stricken mother-land,
                       That could but bless and bid him go,
                       Because no crust was in her hand
                       To stay her children's need. We know

Page 279

                       The mystic cable sank too deep
                       For surface storm or stress to strain,
                       Or from his answering heart to keep
                       The spark from flashing back again!

                       Think of the thousand mellow rhymes,
                       The pure idyllic passion-flowers,
                       Wherewith, in far-gone, happier times,
                       He garlanded this South of ours.
                       Provençal-like,3 he wandered long,
                       And sang at many a stranger's board,
                       Yet 'twas Virginia's name that poured
                       The tenderest pathos through his song.
                       We owe the Poet praise and tears,
                       Whose ringing ballad4 sends the brave,
                       Bold Stuart riding down the years.
                       What have we given him? Just a grave!

        1 The poem is in memory of the poet, John Reuben Thompson, who wrote the poem preceding this one.

        2 The Italian poet, Dante, was exiled from Florence and died in Ravenna. Thompson was "exiled" by poor health.

        3 Like one of the troubadours of Provence, France.

        4 Reference is here made to Thompson's poem on General Jeb Stuart, entitled The Death of Stuart.

        By permission of the Houghton Mifflin Company.



                       FORTH from its scabbard pure and bright
                       Flashed the sword of Lee!
                       Far in the front of the deadly fight,
                       High o'er the brave in the cause of Right,
                       Its stainless sheen, like a beacon light,
                       Led us to victory.

Page 280

                       Out of its scabbard, where, full long,
                       It slumbered peacefully,
                       Roused from its rest by the battle's song,
                       Shielding the feeble, smiting the strong,
                       Guarding the right, avenging the wrong,
                       Gleamed the sword of Lee.

                       Forth from its scabbard, high in air
                       Beneath Virginia's sky;
                       And they who saw it gleaming there,
                       And knew who bore it, knelt to swear
                       That where that sword led they would dare
                       To follow--and to die.

                       Out of its scabbard! Never hand
                       Waved sword from stain as free,
                       Nor purer sword led braver band,
                       Nor braver bled for a brighter land,
                       Nor brighter land had a cause so grand,
                       Nor cause a chief like Lee!

                       Forth from its scabbard! how we prayed
                       That sword might victor be;
                       And when our triumph was delayed,
                       And many a heart grew sore afraid,
                       We still hoped on while gleamed the blade
                       Of noble Robert Lee.

                       Forth from its scabbard all in vain,
                       Forth flashed the sword of Lee;
                       'Tis shrouded now in its sheath again,
                       It sleeps the sleep of our noble slain,
                       Defeated, yet without a stain,
                       Proudly and peacefully.

        By permission of P. J. Kenedy and Sons.

Page 281




                       WHEN merry Christmas day is done,
                       And Christmas night is just begun;
                       While clouds in slow procession drift,
                       To wish the moon-man "Christmas gift,"
                       Yet linger overhead, to know
                       What causes all the stir below;
                       At Uncle Johnny Booker's ball
                       The darkies hold high carnival.
                       From all the country side they throng,
                       With laughter, shouts, and scraps of song,--
                       Their whole deportment plainly showing
                       That to the Frolic they are going.
                       Some take the path with shoes in hand,
                       To traverse muddy bottom-land;
                       Aristocrats their steeds bestride;
                       Four on a mule, behold them ride!
                       And ten great oxen draw apace
                       The wagon from "de oder place,"
                       With forty guests, whose conversation
                       Betokens glad anticipation.

Page 282

                       Not so with him who drives: old Jim
                       Is sagely solemn, hard, and grim,
                       And frolics have no joys for him.
                       He seldom speaks but to condemn--
                       Or utter some wise apothegm--
                       Or else, some crabbed thought pursuing,
                       Talk to his team, as now he's doing:

                       Come up heah, Star! Yee-bawee!
                       You alluz is a-laggin'--
                       Mus' be you think I's dead,
                       An' dis de huss you's draggin'--
                       You's mos' too lazy to draw yo' bref,
                       Let 'lone drawin' de waggin.

                       Dis team--quit bel'rin, sah!
                       De ladies don't submit 'at--
                       Dis team--you ol' fool ox,
                       You heah me tell you quit 'at?
                       Dis team's des like de 'Nited States;
                       Dat's what I's tryin' to git at!

                       De people rides behin',
                       De pollytishners haulin'--
                       Sh'u'd be a well-bruk ox,
                       To foller dat ar callin'--
                       An' sometimes nuffin won't do dem steers,
                       But what dey mus' be stallin'!

                       Woo bahgh! Buck-kannon! Yes, sah,
                       Sometimes dey will be stickin';
                       An' den, fus thing dey knows,
                       Dey takes a rale good lickin'.
                       De folks gits down: an' den watch out
                       For hommerin' an' kickin'.

Page 283

                       Dey blows upon dey hands,
                       Den flings 'em wid de nails up,
                       Jumps up an' cracks dey heels,
                       An' pruzently dey sails up,
                       An' makes dem oxen hump deysef,
                       By twistin' all dey tails up!

                       In this our age of printer's ink
                       'Tis books that show us how to think--
                       The rule reversed, and set at naught,
                       That held that books were born of thought.
                       We form our minds by pedants' rules,
                       And all we know is from the schools;
                       And when we work, or when we play,
                       We do it in an ordered way--
                       And Nature's self pronounce a ban on,
                       Whene'er she dares transgress a canon.
                       Untrammelled thus the simple race is
                       That "wuks the craps" on cotton places.
                       Original in act and thought,
                       Because unlearnèd and untaught.
                       Observe them at their Christmas party:
                       How unrestrained their mirth--how hearty!
                       How many things they say and do
                       That never would occur to you!
                       See Brudder Brown--whose saving grace
                       Would sanctify a quarter-race--
                       Out on the crowded floor advance,
                       To "beg a blessin' on dis dance."

                       O Mahsr! let dis gath'rin' fin' a blessin' in yo' sight,
                       Don't jedge us hard fur what we does--you knows it's Christmas night;
                       An' all de balunce ob de yeah we does as right's we kin.
                       Ef dancin's wrong, O Mahsr! let de time excuse de sin!

Page 284

                       We labors in de vineya'd, wukin' hard an' wukin' true;
                       Now, shorely you won't notus, ef we eats a grape or two,
                       An' takes a leetle holiday,--a leetle restin'-spell,--
                       Bekase, nex' week, we'll start in fresh, an' labor twicet as well.

                       Remember, Mahsr,--min' dis, now,--de sinfulness ob sin
                       Is 'pendin' 'pon de sperrit what we goes an' does it in:
                       An' in a righchis frame ob min' we's gwine to dance an' sing,
                       A-feelin' like King David, when he cut de pigeon wing.

                       It seems to me--indeed it do--I mebbe mout be wrong--
                       That people raly ought to dance, when Chrismus comes along;
                       Des dance bekase dey's happy--like de birds hops in de trees,
                       De pine-top fiddle soundin' to de bowin' ob de breeze.

                       We has no ark to dance afore, like Isrul's prophet king;
                       We has no harp to soun' de chords, to holp us out to sing;
                       But 'cordin' to de gif's we has we does de bes' we knows;
                       An' folks don't 'spise de vi'let flower bekase it ain't de rose.

Page 285

                       You bless us, please, sah, eben ef we's doin' wrong tonight;
                       Kase den we'll need de blessin' more'n ef we's doin' right;
                       An' let de blessin' stay wid us, untel we comes to die,
                       An' goes to keep our Chrismus wid dem sheriffs in de sky!

                       Yes, tell dem preshis anguls we's a-gwine to jine 'em soon:
                       Our voices we's a-trainin' fur to sing de glory tune;
                       We's ready when you wants us, an' it ain't no matter when--
                       O Mahsr! call yo' chillen soon, an' take 'em home! Amen.

                       The rev'rend man is scarcely through,
                       When all the noise begins anew,
                       And with such force assaults the ears,
                       That through the din one hardly hears
                       Old fiddling Josey "sound his A,"
                       Correct the pitch, begin to play,
                       Stop, satisfied, then, with the bow,
                       Rap out the signal dancers know:

                       Git yo' pardners, just kwattillion!
                       Stomp yo' feet, an' raise 'em high;
                       Tune is: "Oh! dat water-million!
                       Gwine to git to home bime bye."
                       S'lute yo' pardners!--scrape perlitely--
                       Don't be bumpin' 'gin de res'--
                       Balance all!--now step out rightly;
                       Alluz dance yo' lebbel bes'.

Page 286

                       Fo'wa'd foah!--whoop up, niggers!
                       Back ag'in!--don't be so slow!--
                       Swing cornahs!--min' de figgers!
                       When I hollers, den yo' go.
                       Top ladies cross ober!
                       Hol' on, till I takes a dram--
                       Gemmen solo!--yes, I's sober--
                       Cain't say how de fiddle am.
                       Hands around!--hol' up yo' faces,
                       Don't be lookin' at yo' feet!
                       Swing yo' pardners to yo' places!
                       Dat's de way--dat's hard to beat.
                       Sides fo'w'd!--when you's ready--
                       Make a bow as low's you kin!
                       Swing acrost wid opp'site lady!
                       Now we'll let you swap ag'in:
                       Ladies change!--shet up dat talkin';
                       Do yo' talkin' arter while!
                       Right an' lef'!--don't want no walkin'--
                       Make yo' steps, an' show yo' style!

                       And so the "set" proceeds--its length
                       Determined by the dancers' strength;
                       And all agree to yield the palm
                       For grace and skill to "Georgy Sam,"
                       Who stamps so hard, and leaps so high,
                       "Des watch him!" is the wond'ring cry--
                       "De nigger mus' be, for a fac',
                       Own cousin to a jumpin'-jack!"
                       On, on the restless fiddle sounds,
                       Still chorused by the curs and hounds;
                       Dance after dance succeeding fast,
                       Till supper is announced at last.

Page 287

                       That scene--but why attempt to show it?
                       The most inventive modern poet,
                       In fine new words whose hope and trust is,
                       Could form no phrase to do it justice!
                       When supper ends--that is not soon--
                       The fiddle strikes the same old tune;
                       The dancers pound the floor again,
                       With all they have of might and main;
                       Old gossips, almost turning pale,
                       Attend Aunt Cassy's grewsome tale
                       Of conjurers, and ghosts, and devils,
                       That in the smoke-house hold their revels;
                       Each drowsy baby droops his head,
                       Yet scorns the very thought of bed:--
                       So wears the night, and wears so fast,
                       All wonder when they find it past,
                       And hear the signal sound to go
                       From what few cocks are left to crow.
                       Then, one and all, you hear them shout:
                       "Hi! Booker! fotch de banjo out,
                       An' gib us one song 'fore we goes--
                       One ob de berry bes' you knows!"
                       Responding to the welcome call,
                       He takes the banjo from the wall,
                       And tunes the strings with skill and care,
                       Then strikes them with a master's air,
                       And tells, in melody and rhyme,
                       This legend of the olden time:

                       Go 'way, fiddle! folks is tired o' hearin' you a-squawkin'.
                       Keep silence fur yo' betters!--don't you heah de banjo talkin'?

Page 288

                       About de possum's tail she's gwine to lecter--ladies, listen!--
                       About de ha'r whut isn't dar, an' why de ha'r is missin':

                       "Dar's gwine to be a oberflow," said Noah, lookin' solemn--
                       Fur Noah tuk the Herald, an' he read de ribber column--
                       An' so he sot his hands to wuk a-cl'arin' timber-patches,
                       An' 'lowed he's gwine to build a boat to beat the steamah Natchez.

                       Ol' Noah kep' a-nailin' an' a-chippin' an' a-sawin',
                       An' all de wicked neighbors kep' a-laughin' an' a-pshawin';
                       But Noah didn't min' 'em, knowin' whut wuz gwine to happen:
                       An' forty days an' forty nights de rain it kep' a-drappin'.

                       Now, Noah had done cotched a lot ob ebry sort o' beas'es--
                       Ob all de shows a-trabbelin', it beat 'em all to pieces!
                       He had a Morgan colt an' sebral head o' Jarsey cattle--
                       An' druv 'em 'board de Ark as soon's he heered de thunder rattle.

                       Den sech anoder fall ob rain!--it come so awful hebby,
                       De ribber riz immejitly, an' busted troo de lebbee;
                       De people all wuz drownded out--'cep' Noah an' de critters,
                       An' men he'd hired to work de boat--an' one to mix de bitters.

Page 289

                       De Ark she kep' a-sailin' an' a-sailin' an' a-sailin';
                       De lion got his dander up, an' like to bruk de palin';
                       De sarpints hissed; de painters yelled; tell, whut wid all de fussin',
                       You c'u'dn't hardly heah de mate a-bossin' 'roun an' cussin'.

                       Now, Ham, de only nigger whut wuz runnin' on de packet,
                       Got lonesome in de barber-shop, an' c'u'dn't stan' de racket;
                       An' so, fur to amuse he-se'f, he steamed some wood an' bent it,
                       An' soon he had a banjo made--de fust dat wuz invented.

                       He wet de ledder, stretched it on; made bridge an' screws an' aprin;
                       An' fitted in a proper neck--'twuz berry long an' tap'rin';
                       He tuk some tin, an' twisted him a thimble fur to ring it;
                       An' den de mighty question riz: how wuz he gwine to string it?

                       De 'possum had as fine a tail as dis dat I's a-singin';
                       De ha'r's so long an' thick an' strong,--des fit fur banjo stringin';
                       Dat nigger shaved 'em off as short as wash-day-dinner graces;
                       An' sorted ob 'em by de size, f'om little E's to basses.

                       He strung her, tuned her, struck a jig,--'twuz "Nebber min' de wedder,"--
                       She soun' like forty-lebben bands a-playin' all togedder;

Page 290

                       Some went to pattin'; some to dancin': Noah called de figgers;
                       An' Ham he sot an' knocked de tune, de happiest ob niggers!

                       Now, sence dat time--it's mighty strange--dere's not de slightes' showin'
                       Ob any ha'r at all upon de 'possum's tail a-growin';
                       An' curi's, too, dat nigger's ways: his people nebber los' 'em--
                       Fur whar you finds de nigger--dar's de banjo an' de 'possum!

                       The night is spent; and as the day
                       Throws up the first faint flash of gray,
                       The guests pursue their homeward way;
                       And through the field beyond the gin,
                       Just as the stars are going in,
                       See Santa Claus departing--grieving--
                       His own dear Land of Cotton leaving.
                       His work is done; he fain would rest
                       Where people know and love him best.
                       He pauses, listens, looks about;
                       But go he must: his pass is out.
                       So, coughing down the rising tears,
                       He climbs the fence and disappears.
                       And thus observes a colored youth
                       (The common sentiment, in sooth):
                       "Oh! what a blessin' 'tw'u'd ha' been,
                       Ef Santy had been born a twin!
                       We'd hab two Chrismuses a yeah--
                       Or p'r'aps one brudder'd settle heah!"

        1 Irwin Russell is considered by many critics to be the first writer to appreciate the literary possibilities of the negro.

        By permission of The Century Company.

Page 291



                       Two armies covered hill and plain,
                       Where Rappahannock's waters
                       Ran deeply crimsoned with the stain
                       Of battle's recent slaughters.

                       The summer clouds lay pitched like tents
                       In meads of heavenly azure;
                       And each dread gun of the elements
                       Slept in its embrasure.

                       The breeze so softly blew, it made
                       No forest leaf to quiver,
                       And the smoke of the random cannonade
                       Rolled slowly from the river.

                       And now, where circling hills looked down
                       With cannon grimly planted,
                       O'er listless camp and silent town
                       The golden sunset slanted.

                       When on the fervid air there came
                       A strain--now rich, now tender;
                       The music seemed itself aflame
                       With day's departing splendor.

                       A Federal band, which, eve and morn,
                       Played measures brave and nimble,
                       Had just struck up, with flute and horn
                       And lively clash of cymbal.

Page 292

                       Down flocked the soldiers to the banks,
                       Till, margined by its pebbles,
                       One wooded shore was blue with "Yanks,"
                       And one was gray with "Rebels."

                       Then all was still, and then the band,
                       With movement light and tricksy,
                       Made stream and forest, hill and strand,
                       Reverberate with "Dixie."

                       The conscious stream with burnished glow
                       Went proudly o'er its pebbles,
                       But thrilled throughout its deepest flow
                       With yelling of the Rebels.

                       Again a pause, and then again
                       The trumpets pealed sonorous,
                       And "Yankee Doodle" was the strain
                       To which the shore gave chorus.

                       The laughing ripple shoreward flew,
                       To kiss the shining pebbles;
                       Loud shrieked the swarming Boys in Blue
                       Defiance to the Rebels.

                       And yet once more the bugle sang
                       Above the stormy riot;
                       No shout upon the evening rang--
                       There reigned a holy quiet.

                       The sad, slow stream its noiseless flood
                       Poured o'er the glistening pebbles;
                       All silent now the Yankees stood,
                       And silent stood the Rebels.

Page 293

                       No unresponsive soul had heard
                       That plaintive note's appealing,
                       So deeply "Home, Sweet Home" had stirred
                       The hidden founts of feeling.

                       Or Blue, or Gray, the soldier sees
                       As by the wand of fairy,
                       The cottage 'neath the live-oak trees,
                       The cabin by the prairie.

                       Or cold, or warm, his native skies
                       Bend in their beauty o'er him;
                       Seen through the tear mist in his eyes,
                       His loved ones stand before him.

                       As fades the iris1 after rain
                       In April's tearful weather,
                       The vision vanished, as the strain
                       And daylight died together.

                       But memory, waked by music's art,
                       Expressed in simplest numbers,
                       Subdued the sternest Yankee's heart,
                       Made light the Rebel's slumbers.

                       And fair the form of Music shines,
                       That bright celestial creature,
                       Who still, 'mid war's embattled lines,
                       Gave this one touch of Nature.

        1 Rainbow.

Page 294



                       IT was three slim does and a ten-tined1 buck in the bracken lay;2
                       And all of a sudden the sinister smell of a man,
                       Awaft on a wind-shift, wavered and ran
                       Down the hill-side and sifted along through the bracken and passed that way.

                       Then Nan got a-tremble at nostril; she was the daintiest doe;
                       In the print of her velvet flank on the velvet fern
                       She reared, and rounded her ears in turn.
                       Then the buck leapt up, and his head as a king's to a crown did go

                       Full high in the breeze, and he stood as if Death had the form of a deer;
                       And the two slim does long lazily stretching arose,
                       For their day-dream slowlier came to a close,
                       Till they woke and were still, breath-bound with waiting and wonder and fear.

                       Then Alan the huntsman sprang over the hillock, the hounds shot by,
                       The does and the ten-tined buck made a marvellous bound,
                       The hounds swept after with never a sound,
                       But Alan loud winded his horn in sign that the quarry was nigh.

Page 295

                       For at dawn of that day proud Maclean of Lochbuy to the hunt had waxed wild,
                       And he cursed at old Alan till Alan fared off with the hounds
                       For to drive him the deer to the lower glen grounds:
                       "I will kill a red deer," quoth Maclean, "in the sight of the wife and the child."

                       So gayly he paced with the wife and the child to his chosen stand;
                       But he hurried tall Hamish the henchman ahead: "Go turn,"--
                       Cried Maclean--"if the deer seek to cross to the burn,3
                       Do thou turn them to me: nor fail, lest thy back be red as thy hand."

                       Now hard-fortuned Hamish, half blown of his breath with the height of the hill,
                       Was white in the face when the ten-tined buck and the does
                       Drew leaping to burn-ward; huskily rose
                       His shouts, and his nether lip twitched, and his legs were o'er-weak for his will.

                       So the deer darted lightly by Hamish and bounded away to the burn.
                       But Maclean never bating his watch tarried waiting below.
                       Still Hamish hung heavy with fear for to go
                       All the space of an hour; then he went, and his face was greenish and stern,

Page 296

                       And his eye sat back in the socket, and shrunken the eyeballs shone,
                       As withdrawn from a vision of deeds it were shame to see.
                       "Now, now, grim henchman, what is't with thee?"
                       Brake Maclean, and his wrath rose red as a beacon the wind hath upblown.

                       "Three does and a ten-tined buck made out," spoke Hamish, full mild,
                       "And I ran for to turn, but my breath it was blown, and they passed;
                       I was weak, for ye called ere I broke me my fast."
                       Cried Maclean: "Now a ten-tined buck in the sight of the wife and the child

                       "I had killed if the gluttonous kern4 had not wrought me a snail's own wrong!"
                       Then he sounded, and down came kinsmen and clansmen all:
                       "Ten blows, for ten tine, on his back let fall,
                       And reckon no stroke if the blood follow not at the bite of thong!"

                       So Hamish made bare, and took him his strokes; at the last he smiled.
                       "Now I'll to the burn," quoth Maclean, "for it still may be,
                       If a slimmer-paunched henchman will hurry with me,
                       I shall kill me the ten-tined buck for a gift to the wife and the child!"

Page 297

                       Then the clansmen departed, by this path and that; and over the hill
                       Sped Maclean with an outward wrath for an inward shame;
                       And that place of the lashing full quiet became;
                       And the wife and the child stood sad; and bloody-backed Hamish sat still.

                       But look! red Hamish has risen; quick about and about turns he.
                       "There is none betwixt me and the crag top!" he screams under breath.
                       Then, livid as Lazarus lately from death,
                       He snatches the child from the mother, and clambers the crag toward the sea.

                       Now the mother drops breath; she is dumb, and her heart goes dead for a space,
                       Till the motherhood, mistress of death, shrieks, shrieks through the glen,
                       And that place of the lashing is live with men,
                       And Maclean, and the gillie5 that told him, dash up in a desperate race.

                       Not a breath's time for asking; an eye glance reveals all the tale untold.
                       They follow mad Hamish afar up the crag toward the sea,
                       And the lady cries: "Clansmen, run for a fee!--
                       Yon castle and lands to the two first hands that shall hook him and hold

Page 298

                       Fast Hamish back from the brink!"--and ever she flies up the steep,
                       And the clansmen pant, and they sweat, and they jostle and strain.
                       But, mother, 'tis vain; but, father, 'tis vain;
                       Stern Hamish stands bold on the brink, and dangles the child o'er the deep.

                       Now a faintness falls on the men that run, and they all stand still.
                       And the wife prays Hamish as if he were God, on her knees,
                       Crying: "Hamish! O Hamish! but please, but please
                       For to spare him!" and Hamish still dangles the child, with a wavering will.

                       On a sudden he turns; with a sea-hawk scream, and a gibe, and a song,
                       Cries: "So; I will spare ye the child if, in sight of ye all,
                       Ten blows on Maclean's bare back shall fall,
                       And ye reckon no stroke if the blood follow not at the bite of the thong!"

                       Then Maclean he set hardly his tooth to his lip that his tooth was red,
                       Breathed short for a space, said: "Nay, but it never shall be!
                       Let me hurl off the damnable hound in the sea!"
                       But the wife: "Can Hamish go fish us the child from the sea, if dead?

Page 299

                       "Say yea!--Let them lash me, Hamish?"--"Nay!"--"Husband, the lashing will heal;
                       But, oh, who will heal me the bonny sweet bairn in his grave?
                       Could ye cure me my heart with the death of a knave?
                       Quick! Love! I will bare thee--so--kneel!" Then Maclean 'gan slowly to kneel

                       With never a word, till presently downward he jerked to the earth.
                       Then the henchman--he that smote Hamish--would tremble and lag;
                       "Strike, hard!" quoth Hamish, full stern, from the crag;
                       Then he struck him, and "One!" sang Hamish, and danced with the child in his mirth.

                       And no man spake beside Hamish; he counted each stroke with a song.
                       When the last stroke fell, then he moved him a pace down the height,
                       And he held forth the child in the heart-aching sight
                       Of the mother, and looked all pitiful grave, as repenting a wrong.

                       And there as the motherly arms stretched out with the thanksgiving prayer--
                       And there as the mother crept up with a fearful swift pace,
                       Till her finger nigh felt of the bairnie's face--
                       In a flash fierce Hamish turned round and lifted the child in the air,

Page 300

                       And sprang with the child in his arms from the horrible height in the sea,
                       Shrill screeching, "Revenge!" in the wind-rush; and pallid Maclean,
                       Age-feeble with anger and impotent pain,
                       Crawled up on the crag, and lay flat, and locked hold of dead roots of a tree--

                       And gazed hungrily o'er, and the blood from his back drip-dripped in the brine,
                       And a sea-hawk flung down a skeleton fish as he flew,
                       And the mother stared white on the waste of blue,
                       And the wind drove a cloud to seaward, and the sun began to shine.

        1 Ten-pronged.

        2 A thick undergrowth of fern or willow.

        3 A small stream.

        4 An irregular soldier; in this case merely a term of reproach meaning an idler.

        5 Gillie: An attendant, man-servant.

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.



                       I REMEMBER it well; 'twas a morn dull and gray,
                       And the legion lay idle and listless that day,
                       A thin drizzle of rain piercing chill to the soul,
                       And with not a spare bumper to brighten the bowl,
                       When Macdonald arose, and unsheathing his blade,
                       Cried, "Who'll back me, brave comrades? I'm hot for a raid.
                       Let the carbines be loaded, the war harness ring,
                       Then swift death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

Page 301

                       We leaped up at his summons, all eager and bright,
                       To our finger-tips thrilling to join him in fight;
                       Yet he chose from our numbers four men and no more.
                       "Stalwart brothers," quoth he, "you'll be strong as fourscore,
                       If you follow me fast wheresoever I lead,
                       With keen sword and true pistol, stanch heart and bold steed.
                       Let the weapons be loaded, the bridle-bits ring,
                       Then swift death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

                       In a trice we were mounted; Macdonald's tall form
                       Seated firm in the saddle, his face like a storm
                       When the clouds on Ben Lomond hang heavy and stark,
                       And the red veins of lightning pulse hot through the dark;
                       His left hand on his sword-belt, his right lifted free,
                       With a prick from the spurred heel, a touch from the knee,
                       His lithe Arab was off like an eagle on wing--
                       "Ha! death, death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

                       'Twas three leagues to the town, where, in insolent pride
                       Of their disciplined numbers, their works strong and wide,
                       The big Britons, oblivious of warfare and arms,
                       A soft dolce2 were wrapped in, not dreaming of harms,
                       When fierce yells, as if borne on some fiend-ridden rout,

Page 302

                       With strange cheer after cheer, are heard echoing without,
                       Over which, like the blast of ten trumpeters, ring,
                       "Death, death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

                       Such a tumult we raised with steel, hoof-stroke, and shout,
                       That the foemen made straight for their inmost redoubt,
                       And therein, with pale lips and cowed spirits, quoth they,
                       "Lord, the whole rebel army assaults us to-day.
                       Are the works, think you, strong? God of heaven, what a din!
                       'Tis the front wall besieged--have the rebels rushed in?
                       It must be; for, hark! hark to that jubilant ring
                       Of 'Death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!'"

                       Meanwhile, through the town like a whirlwind we sped,
                       And ere long be assured that our broadswords were red;
                       And the ground here and there by an ominous stain
                       Showed how the stark soldier beside it was slain:
                       A fat sergeant-major, who yawed like a goose,
                       With his waddling bow-legs, and his trappings all loose,
                       By one back-handed blow the Macdonald cuts down,
                       To the shoulder-blade, cleaving him sheer through the crown,

Page 303

                       And the last words that greet his dim consciousness ring
                       With "Death, death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

                       Having cleared all the streets, not an enemy left
                       Whose heart was unpierced, or whose headpiece uncleft,
                       What should we do next, but--as careless and calm
                       As if we were scenting a summer morn's balm
                       'Mid a land of pure peace--just serenely drop down
                       On a few constant friends who still stopped in the town.
                       What a welcome they gave us! One dear little thing,
                       As I kissed her sweet lips, did I dream of the King!--

                       Of the King or his minions? No; war and its scars
                       Seemed as distant just then as the fierce front of Mars
                       From a love-girdled earth; but, alack! on our bliss,
                       On the close clasp of arms and kiss showering on kiss,
                       Broke the rude bruit of battle, the rush thick and fast
                       Of the Britons made 'ware of our rash ruse at last;
                       So we haste to our coursers, yet flying, we fling
                       The old watchwords abroad, "Down with Redcoats and King!"

                       As we scampered pell-mell o'er the hard-beaten track
                       We had traversed that morn, we glanced momently back,
                       And beheld their long earthworks all compassed in flame;
                       With a vile plunge and hiss the huge musket-balls came,

Page 304

                       And the soil was ploughed up, and the space 'twixt the trees
                       Seemed to hum with the war-song of Brobdingnag3 bees;
                       Yet above them, beyond them, victoriously ring
                       The shouts, "Death to the Redcoats, and down with the King!"

                       Ah! that was a feat, lads, to boast of! What men
                       Like you weaklings to-day had durst cope with us then?
                       Though I say it who should not, I am ready to vow
                       I'd o'ermatch a half score of your fops even now--
                       The poor puny prigs, mincing up, mincing down,
                       Through the whole wasted day the thronged streets of the town:
                       Why, their dainty white necks 'twere but pastime to wring--
                       Ay! my muscles are firm still; I fought 'gainst the King!

                       Dare you doubt it? well, give me the weightiest of all
                       The sheathed sabres that hang there, uplooped on the wall;
                       Hurl the scabbard aside; yield the blade to my claps;
                       Do you see, with one hand how I poise it and grasp
                       The rough iron-bound hilt? With this long hissing sweep
                       I have smitten full many a foeman with sleep--
                       That forlorn, final sleep! God! what memories cling
                       To those gallant old times when we fought 'gainst the King.

        1 Macdonald led four men into the fortified fort of Georgetown, South Carolina, held by three hundred of the British soldiers.

        2 Idleness.

        3 See Gulliver's Travels.

        By permission of Lothrop, Lee and Shepard.

Page 305




                       HELEN, thy beauty is to me
                       Like those Nicæan barks of yore,
                       That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
                       The weary, wayworn wanderer1 bore
                       To his own native shore.

                       On desperate seas long wont to roam,
                       Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
                       Thy Naiad2 airs, have brought me home
                       To the glory that was Greece
                       And the grandeur that was Rome.

                       Lo! in yon brilliant window niche
                       How statue-like I see thee stand,
                       The agate lamp within thy hand!
                       Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
                       Are Holy Land!

        1 Odysseus.

        2 A water nymph.

Page 306



                       THE skies they were ashen and sober;
                       The leaves they were crispèd and sere,
                       The leaves they were withering and sere;
                       It was night in the lonesome October
                       Of my most immemorial year;
                       It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,1
                       In the misty mid region of Weir:
                       It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
                       In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir:

                       Here once, through an alley Titanic
                       Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul--
                       Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
                       These were days when my heart was volcanic
                       As the scoriac rivers2 that roll,
                       As the lavas that restlessly roll,
                       Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
                       In the ultimate climes of the pole,
                       That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
                       In the realms of the boreal pole.

                       Our talk had been serious and sober,
                       But our thoughts they were palsied and sere,
                       Our memories were treacherous and sere,
                       For we knew not the month was October,

Page 307

                       And we marked not the night of the year
                       (Ah, night of all nights in the year!),
                       We noted not the dim lake of Auber
                       (Though once we had journeyed down here),
                       Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber
                       Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

                       And now, as the night was senescent
                       And star-dials pointed to morn,
                       As the star-dials hinted of morn,
                       At the end of our path a liquescent
                       And nebulous lustre was born,
                       Out of which a miraculous crescent
                       Arose with a duplicate horn,
                       Astarte's bediamoned crescent
                       Distinct with its duplicate horn.

                       And I said--"She is warmer than Dian:
                       She rolls through an ether of sighs,
                       She revels in a region of sighs:
                       She has seen that the tears are not dry on
                       These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
                       And has come past the stars of the Lion3
                       To point us the path to the skies,
                       To the Lethean4 peace of the skies:

                       Come up, in despite of the Lion,
                       To shine on us with her bright eyes:
                       Come up through the lair of the Lion,
                       With love in her luminous eyes."

Page 308

                       But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
                       Said--"Sadly this star I mistrust,
                       Her pallor I strangely mistrust:
                       Oh, hasten!--oh, let us not linger!
                       Oh, fly!--let us fly!--for we must."
                       In terror she spoke, letting sink her
                       Wings until they trailed in the dust;
                       In agony sobbed, letting sink her
                       Plumes till they trailed in the dust,
                       Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

                       I replied--"This is nothing but dreaming:
                       Let us on by this tremulous light!
                       Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
                       Its sibyllic splendor is beaming
                       With hope and in beauty to-night:
                       See, it flickers up the sky through the night!
                       Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
                       And be sure it will lead us aright:
                       We safely may trust to a gleaming
                       That cannot but guide us aright,
                       Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.["]

                       Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
                       And tempted her out of her gloom,
                       And conquered her scruples and gloom;
                       And we passed to the end of the vista,
                       But were stopped by the door of a tomb,
                       By the door of a legended tomb;
                       And I said--"What is written, sweet sister,
                       On the door of this legended tomb?"
                       She replied--"Ulalume--Ulalume--
                       'T is the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"

Page 309

                       Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
                       As the leaves that were crispèd and sere,
                       As the leaves that were withering and sere,
                       And I cried--"It was surely October
                       On this very night of last year
                       That I journeyed--I journeyed down here,
                       That I brought a dread burden down here:
                       On this night of all nights in the year,
                       Ah, what demon has tempted me here?
                       Well, I know, now, this dim lake of Auber,
                       This misty mid region of Weir:
                       Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
                       This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir."

        1 The geographical names of this poem, Auber, Weir, Mount Yaanek, are purely imaginative.

        2 Rivers of volcanic cinders.

        3 The constellation Leo.

        4 Having the power of Lethe, a river of Hades, whose waters when drunk caused forgetfulness of the past.



                       IT was many and many a year ago,
                       In a kingdom by the sea,
                       That a maiden there lived whom you may know
                       By the name of Annabel Lee;
                       And this maiden she lived with no other thought
                       Than to love and be loved by me.

                       I was a child, and she was a child,
                       In this kingdom by the sea,
                       But we loved with a love that was more than love,
                       I and my Annabel Lee;
                       With a love that the wingèd seraphs of heaven
                       Coveted her and me.

Page 310

                       And this was the reason that, long ago,
                       In this kingdom by the sea,
                       A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
                       My beautiful Annabel Lee;
                       So that her high-born kinsmen came
                       And bore her away from me,
                       To shut her up in a sepulchre
                       In this kingdom by the sea.

                       The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
                       Went envying her and me--
                       Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
                       In this kingdom by the sea)
                       That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
                       Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

                       But our love it was stronger by far than the love
                       Of those who were older than we--
                       Of many far wiser than we--
                       And neither the angels in heaven above,
                       Nor the demons down under the sea,
                       Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
                       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

                       For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
                       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
                       And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
                       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
                       And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
                       Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
                       In the sepulchre there by the sea--
                       In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Page 311



                       THOU wast all that to me, love,
                       For which my soul did pine--
                       A green isle in the sea, love,
                       A fountain and a shrine,
                       All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
                       And all the flowers were mine.

                       Ah, dream too bright to last!
                       Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
                       But to be overcast!
                       A voice from out the Future cries,
                       "On! on!"--but o'er the Past
                       (Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
                       Mute, motionless, aghast.

                       For, alas! alas! with me
                       The light of Life is o'er!
                       "No more--no more--no more"--
                       (Such language holds the solemn sea
                       To the sands upon the shore)
                       Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
                       Or the stricken eagle soar!

                       And all my days are trances,
                       And all my nightly dreams
                       Are where thy gray eye glances,
                       And where thy footstep gleams--
                       In what ethereal dances,
                       By what eternal streams.

Page 312



                       IN the heart of the Hills of Life, I know
                       Two springs that with unbroken flow
                       Forever pour their lucent streams
                       Into my soul's far Lake of Dreams.

                       Not larger than two eyes, they lie
                       Beneath the many-changing sky
                       And mirror all of life and time,
                       --Serene and dainty pantomime.

                       Shot through with lights of stars and dawns,
                       And shadowed sweet by ferns and fawns,
                       --Thus heaven and earth together vie
                       Their shining depths to sanctify.

                       Always when the large Form of Love
                       Is hid by storms that rage above,
                       I gaze in my two springs and see
                       Love in his very verity.

                       Always when Faith with stifling stress
                       Of grief hath died in bitterness,
                       I gaze in my two springs and see
                       A Faith that smiles immortally.

                       Always when Charity and Hope,
                       In darkness bounden, feebly grope,
                       I gaze in my two springs and see
                       A Light that sets my captives free.

Page 313

                       Always, when Art on perverse wing
                       Flies where I cannot hear him sing,
                       I gaze in my two springs and see
                       A charm that brings him back to me.

                       When Labor faints, and Glory fails,
                       And coy Reward in sighs exhales,
                       I gaze in my two springs and see
                       Attainment full and heavenly.

                       O Love, O Wife, thine eyes are they,
                       --My springs from out whose shining gray
                       Issue the sweet celestial streams
                       That feed my life's bright Lake of Dreams.

                       Oval and large and passion-pure
                       And gray and wise and honor-sure;
                       Soft as a dying violet-breath
                       Yet calmly unafraid of death;

                       Thronged, like two dove-cotes of gray doves,
                       With wife's and mother's and poor folk's loves,
                       And home-loves and high glory-loves
                       And science-loves and story-loves,

                       And loves for all that God and man
                       In art and nature make or plan,
                       And lady-loves for spidery lace
                       And broideries, and supple grace,

                       And diamonds, and the whole sweet round
                       Of littles that large life compound,
                       And loves for God and God's bare truth,
                       And loves for Magdalen and Ruth.

Page 314

                       Dear eyes, dear eyes and rare complete--
                       Being heavenly-sweet and earthly-sweet,
                       --I marvel that God made you mine,
                       For when He frowns, 'tis then ye shine!

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.



                       Look off, dear Love, across the sallow sands,
                       And mark yon meeting of the sun and sea,
                       How long they kiss in sight of all the lands.
                       Ah! longer, longer, we.

                       Now in the sea's red vintage melts the sun,
                       As Egypt's1 pearl dissolved in rosy wine,
                       And Cleopatra night drinks all. 'Tis done,
                       Love, lay thine hand in mine.

                       Come forth, sweet stars, and comfort heaven's heart;
                       Glimmer, ye waves, round else unlighted sands.
                       O night! divorce our sun and sky apart,
                       Never our lips, our hands.

        1 This refers to the tradition that Marc Antony dissolved a costly pearl in wine to gratify a whim of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, with whom he was infatuated.

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 315



                       I LOVED thee long and dearly,
                       Florence Vane;
                       My life's bright dream, and early,
                       Hath come again;
                       I renew, in my fond vision,
                       My heart's dear pain,
                       My hope, and thy derision,
                       Florence Vane.

                       The ruin lone and hoary,
                       The ruin old,
                       Where thou didst hark my story,
                       At even told,--
                       That spot--the hues Elysian
                       Of sky and plain--
                       I treasure in my vision,
                       Florence Vane.

                       Thou wast lovelier than the roses
                       In their prime;
                       Thy voice excelled the closes
                       Of sweetest rhyme;
                       Thy heart was as a river
                       Without a main.
                       Would I had loved thee never,
                       Florence Vane!

Page 316

                       But, fairest, coldest wonder!
                       Thy glorious clay
                       Lieth the green sod under--
                       Alas the day!
                       And it boots not to remember
                       Thy disdain--
                       To quicken love's pale ember,
                       Florence Vane.

                       The lilies of the valley
                       By young graves weep,
                       The pansies love to dally
                       Where maidens sleep;
                       May their bloom, in beauty vying,
                       Never wane
                       Where thine earthly part is lying,
                       Florence Vane!

        1 Published in Gentleman's Magazine while Poe was the editor.



                       SINCE the dewdrop holds the star
                       The long night through,
                       Perchance the satellite afar
                       Reflects the dew.

                       And while thine image in my heart
                       Doth steadfast shine;
                       There, haply, in thy heaven apart
                       Thou keepest mine.

        From Poems by John B. Tabb. Second edition, 1895. By permission of Small, Maynard and Company and the author.

Page 317



                       OVER the sea, over the sea,
                       My love he is gone to a far countrie;
                       But he brake a golden ring with me,
                       The pledge of his faith to be.

                       Over the sea, over the sea,
                       He comes no more from the far countrie;
                       But at night, where the new moon loved to be,
                       Hangs the half of a ring for me.



                       THE singing of sweet Phyllis
                       Like the silver laughing rill is,
                       And her breath is like the lily's
                       In the dawn.
                       As graceful as the dipping
                       Summer swallow, or the skipping
                       Of a lambkin is her tripping
                       O'er the lawn.

                       To whom shall I compare her?
                       To a dryad? No! She's rarer.
                       She is something--only fairer--
                       Like Bopeep.

Page 318

                       She is merry, she is clever.
                       Surely had Bopeep been ever
                       Half so winsome, she had never
                       Lost a sheep.

                       Her eyes are like the heather,
                       Or the skies in April weather;
                       And as blue as both together
                       In the spring.
                       Alas! I need a metre,
                       As I pipe her, that is sweeter,
                       And a rhythm that is fleeter
                       On the wing.

                       Beyond a poet's fancies,
                       Though the muse had kissed his glances,
                       Is her dimple when it dances
                       In a smile.
                       Oh, the havoc it is making--
                       Days of sorrow, nights of waking--
                       Half a score of hearts are aching
                       All the while.

                       Sweet Phyllis! I adore her,
                       And with beating heart implore her
                       On my loving knees before her
                       In alarm.
                       'Tis neither kind nor rightful
                       That a lassie so delightful
                       Should exert a spell so frightful
                       With her charm.

        From Rhymes and Roses. By permission of the Frederick A. Stokes Company.

Page 319



                       I FILL this cup to one made up
                       Of loveliness alone,
                       A woman, of her gentle sex
                       The seeming paragon;
                       To whom the better elements
                       And kindly stars have given
                       A form so fair that, like the air,
                       'Tis less of earth than heaven.

                       Her every tone is music's own,
                       Like those of morning birds,
                       And something more than melody
                       Dwells ever in her words;
                       The coinage of her heart are they,
                       And from her lips each flows
                       As one may see the burdened bee
                       Forth issue from the rose.

                       Affections are as thoughts to her,
                       The measures of her hours;
                       Her feelings have the fragrancy,
                       The freshness of young flowers;
                       And lovely passions, changing oft,
                       So fill her, she appears
                       The image of themselves by turns,--
                       The idol of past years!

Page 320

                       Of her bright face one glance will trace
                       A picture on the brain,
                       And of her voice in echoing hearts
                       A sound must long remain;
                       But memory, such as mine of her,
                       So very much endears,
                       When death is nigh my latest sigh
                       Will not be life's, but hers.

                       I fill this cup to one made up
                       Of loveliness alone,
                       A woman, of her gentle sex
                       The seeming paragon--
                       Her health! and would on earth there stood
                       Some more of such a frame,
                       That life might be all poetry,
                       And weariness a name.

        1 Written in honor of Mrs. Rebecca Somerville.



                       I PICTURE her there in the quaint old room,
                       Where the fading firelight starts and falls,
                       Alone in the twilight's tender gloom
                       With the shadows that dance on the dim-lit walls.

                       Alone, while those faces look silently down
                       From their antique frames in a grim repose--

Page 321

                       Slight scholarly Ralph in his Oxford gown,
                       And stanch Sir Alan, who died for Montrose.2

                       There are gallants gay in crimson and gold,
                       There are smiling beauties with powdered hair,
                       But she sits there, fairer a thousandfold,
                       Leaning dreamily back in her low arm-chair.

                       And the roseate shadows of fading light
                       Softly clear steal over the sweet young face,
                       Where a woman's tenderness blends to-night
                       With the guileless pride of a knightly race.

                       Her small hands lie clasped in a listless way
                       On the old ROMANCE--which she holds on her knee--
                       Of Tristram,3 the bravest of knights in the fray,
                       And Iseult,4 who waits by the sounding sea.

                       And her proud, dark eyes wear a softened look
                       As she watches the dying embers fall:
                       Perhaps she dreams of the knight in the book,
                       Perhaps of the pictures that smile on the wall.

                       What fancies--I wonder--are thronging her brain,
                       For her cheeks flush warm with a crimson glow!
                       Perhaps--ah! me, how foolish and vain!
                       But I'd give my life to believe it so!

Page 322

                       Well, whether I ever march home again
                       To offer my love and a stainless name,
                       Or whether I die at the head of my men,--
                       I'll be true to the end all the same.

        1 Dated Pegram's Battalion Artillery, Army of Northern Virginia, December, 1864.

        2 James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612-50), a poet, a soldier, and loyal supporter of King Charles I, captured after the battle of Carbisdale (1650) and hanged by Cromwell's followers.

        3 A famous knight of King Arthur's Round Table.

        4 Wife of Tristram.

        For "The Romance of Tristram and Iseult" (or Isolde) see Tennyson's Idylls of the King.

        By permission of the author.

Page 323




                       HERE lived the soul enchanted
                       By melody of song;
                       Here dwelt the spirit haunted
                       By a demoniac throng;
                       Here sang the lips elated;
                       Here grief and death were sated;
                       Here lived and here unmated
                       Was he, so frail, so strong.

                       Here wintry winds and cheerless
                       The dying firelight blew
                       While he whose song was peerless
                       Dreamed the drear midnight through
                       And from dull embers chilling
                       Crept shadows darkly filling
                       The silent place, and thrilling
                       His fancy as they grew.

                       Here, with brow bared to heaven,
                       In starry night he stood,
                       With the lost star of seven
                       Feeling sad brotherhood.

Page 324

                       Here in the sobbing showers
                       Of dark autumnal hours
                       He heard suspected powers
                       Shriek through the stormy wood.

                       From visions of Apollo1
                       And of Astarte's2
                       He gazed into the hollow
                       And hopeless vale of Dis;3
                       And though earth were surrounded
                       By heaven, it still was mounded
                       With graves. His soul had sounded
                       The dolorous abyss.

                       Proud, mad, but not defiant,
                       He touched at heaven and hell.
                       Fate found a rare soul pliant
                       And rung her changes well.
                       Alternately his lyre,
                       Stranded with strings of fire,
                       Led earth's most happy choir
                       Or flashed with Israfel.4

                       No singer of old story
                       Luting accustomed lays,
                       No harper for new glory,
                       No mendicant for praise,
                       He struck high chords and splendid,
                       Wherein were fiercely blended
                       Tones that unfinished ended
                       With his unfinished days.

Page 325

                       Here through this lowly portal,
                       Made sacred by his name,
                       Unheralded immortal
                       The mortal went and came.
                       And fate that then denied him,
                       And envy that decried him,
                       And malice that belied him,
                       Have cenotaphed5 his fame.

        1 The Roman and the Greek god of prophetic wisdom.

        2 The Phoenican goddess of love.

        3 The lower region.

        4 See Poe's poem, Israfel.

        5 Erected a monument to his fame.

        By permission of Mrs. John Henry Boner.



                       IN Heaven a spirit doth dwell
                       Whose heart-strings are a lute;
                       None sing so wildly well
                       As the angel Israfel,
                       And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
                       Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
                       Of his voice, all mute.

                       Tottering above
                       In her highest noon
                       The enamoured moon
                       Blushes with love,
                       While, to listen, the red levin
                       (With the rapid Pleiads,1 even,
                       Which were seven)
                       Pauses in Heaven.

Page 326

                       And they say (the starry choir
                       And the other listening things)
                       That Israfeli's fire
                       Is owing to that lyre
                       By which he sits and sings,
                       The trembling living wire
                       Of those unusual strings.

                       But the skies that angel trod,
                       Where deep thoughts are a duty,
                       Where Love's a grown-up God,
                       Where the Houri2 glances are
                       Imbued with all the beauty
                       Which we worship in a star.

                       Therefore thou are not wrong,
                       Israfeli, who despisest
                       An unimpassioned song;
                       To thee the laurels belong,
                       Best bard, because the wisest:
                       Merrily live, and long!

                       The ecstasies above
                       With thy burning measures suit:
                       Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
                       With the fervor of thy lute:
                       Well may the stars be mute!

                       Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
                       Is a world of sweets and sours;
                       Our flowers are merely--flowers,
                       And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
                       Is the sunshine of ours.

Page 327

                       If I could dwell
                       Where Israfel
                       Hath dwelt, and he where I,
                       He might not sing so wildly well
                       A mortal melody,
                       While a bolder note than this might swell
                       From my lyre within the sky.

        1 A group of small stars in the neck of the constellation Taurus.

        2 A nymph of Paradise as denominated by the Mohammedans.



                       SOMEWHERE on this earthly planet,
                       In the dust of flowers to be,
                       In the dewdrop, in the sunshine,
                       Sleeps a solemn day for me.

                       At this wakeful hour of midnight
                       I behold it dawn in mist,
                       And I hear a sound of sobbing
                       Through the darkness--hist! oh, hist!

                       In a dim and musky chamber
                       I am breathing life away;
                       Some one draws a curtain softly,
                       And I watch the broadening day.

                       As it purples in the zenith,
                       As it brightens on the lawn,
                       There's a hush of death about me,
                       And a whisper, "He is gone!"

        1 This poem expresses what seems to be a premonition of his own day of death, which came when he was quite young and oppressed by many sorrows.

        By permission of the B. F. Johnson Company.

Page 328



                       MY life is like the summer rose,
                       That opens to the morning sky,
                       But ere the shades of evening close,
                       Is scattered on the ground--to die!
                       Yet on the rose's humble bed
                       The sweetest dews of night are shed,
                       As though she wept such waste to see--
                       But none shall weep a tear for me!

                       My life is like the autumn leaf
                       That trembles in the moon's pale ray:
                       Its hold is frail--its date is brief,
                       Restless--and soon to pass away!
                       Yet, ere that leaf shall fall and fade,
                       The parent tree will mourn its shade,
                       The winds bewail the leafless tree--
                       But none shall breathe a sigh for me!

                       My life is like the prints which feet
                       Have left on Tampa's desert strand;
                       Soon as the rising tide shall beat,
                       All trace will vanish from the sand;
                       Yet, as if grieving to efface
                       All vestige of the human race,
                       On that lone shore loud moans the sea--
                       But none, alas! shall mourn for me!

Page 329



                       INTO the woods my Master went,
                       Clean forspent, forspent.
                       Into the woods my Master came,
                       Forspent with love and shame.
                       But the olives they were not blind to Him,
                       The little gray leaves were kind to Him:
                       The thorn-tree had a mind to Him
                       When into the woods He came.

                       Out of the woods my Master went,
                       And He was well content.
                       Out of the woods my Master came,
                       Content with death and shame.
                       When Death and Shame would woo Him last,
                       From under the trees they drew Him last:
                       'Twas on a tree they slew Him--last
                       When out of the woods He came.

        From Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 331




Page 333



ANNAPOLIS, Nov. 28th, 1783.

        MY DEAR PATSY--After four days' journey, I arrived here without any accident, and in as good health as when I left Philadelphia. The conviction that you would be more improved in the situation I have placed you than if still with me, has solaced me on my parting with you, which my love for you has rendered a difficult thing. The acquirements which I hope you will make under the tutors I have provided for you will render you more worthy of my love; and if they can not increase it, they will prevent its diminution. Consider the good lady who has taken you under her roof, who has undertaken to see that you perform all your exercises, and to admonish you in all those wanderings from what is right or what is clever, to which your inexperience would expose you: consider her, I say, as your mother, as the only person to whom, since the loss with which Heaven has pleased to afflict you, you can now look up; and that her displeasure or disapprobation, on any occasion, will be an immense misfortune, which, should you be so unhappy as to incur by any

Page 334

unguarded act, think no concession too much to regain her good will. With respect to the distribution of your time, the following is what I should approve:

        From 8 to 10, practice music.

        From 10 to 1, dance one day and draw another.

        From 1 to 2, draw on the day you dance, and write a letter next day.

        From 3 to 4, read French.

        From 4 to 5 exercise yourself in music.

        From 5 till bed-time, read English, write, etc.

        Communicate this plan to Mrs. Hopkinson, and if she approves of it, pursue it. As long as Mrs. Trist remains in Philadelphia, cultivate her affection. She has been a valuable friend to you, and her good sense and good heart make her valued by all who know her, and by nobody on earth more than me. I expect you will write me by every post. Inform me what books you read, what times you learn, and inclose me your best copy of every lesson in drawing. Write also one letter a week either to your Aunt Eppes, your Aunt Skipwith, your Aunt Carr, or the little lady from whom I now inclose a letter, and always put the letter you so write under cover to me. Take care that you never spell a word wrong. Always before you write a word consider how it is spelt, and, if you do not remember it, consult a dictionary. It produces great praise to a lady to spell well. I have placed my happiness on seeing you good and accomplished; and no distress which this world can now bring on me would equal that of your disappointing my hopes. If you love me, then strive to be good under every situation and to all living creatures, and to acquire those accomplishments

Page 335

which I have put in your power, and which will go far towards insuring you the warmest love of your affectionate father,


P.S.--Keep my letters and read them at times, that you may always have present in your mind those things which will endear you to me.



        THIS letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run; and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which you have entered be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.

MONTICELLO, February 21st, 1825.

Page 336



ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, April 20, 1861.

        MY DEAR SISTER: I am grieved at my inability to see you. . . . I have been waiting for a 'more convenient season,' which has brought to many before me deep and lasting regret. Now we are in a state of war which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet the question whether I should take part against my native State.

        With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword. I know you will blame me; but you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I have endeavoured to do what I thought right.

        To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send you a copy of my letter of resignation. I have no

Page 337

time for more. May God guard and protect you and yours, and shower upon you everlasting blessings, is the prayer of your devoted brother,

R. E. LEE.

        From Recollections and Letters of General Lee, by his son. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.




        . . . THE duty of its citizens, then, appears to me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of the war and to restore the blessings of peace. They should remain, if possible, in the country; promote harmony and good feeling, qualify themselves to vote and elect to the State and general legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the country and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, and have endeavoured to practise it myself.

        . . . I believe it to be the duty of every one to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony. These considerations governed me in the counsels I gave to others, and induced me on the 13th of June to make application to be included in the terms of the amnesty proclamation. . . .

        From Recollections and Letters of General Lee, by his son. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.

Page 338



POWHATAN COUNTY, August 24, 1865.

        GENTLEMEN: I have delayed for some days replying to your letter of the 5th inst., informing me of my election by the board of trustees to the presidency of Washington College, from a desire to give the subject due consideration. Fully impressed with the responsibilities of the office, I have feared that I should be unable to discharge its duties to the satisfaction of the trustees or to the benefit of the country. The proper education of youth requires not only great ability, but I fear more strength than I now possess, for I do not feel able to undergo the labour of conducting classes in regular courses of instruction. I could not, therefore, undertake more than the general administration and supervision of the institution. There is another subject which has caused me serious reflection, and is, I think, worthy the consideration of the board. Being excluded from the terms of amnesty in the proclamation of the President of the United States, of the 29th of May last, and an object of censure to a portion of the country, I have thought it probable that my occupation of the position of president might draw upon the college a feeling of hostility; and I should, therefore, cause injury to an institution which it would be my highest desire to advance. I think it the duty of every citizen, in the present condition of the country, to do all in his power

Page 339

to aid in the restoration of peace and harmony, and in no way to oppose the policy of the State or general government directed to that object. It is particularly incumbent on those charged with the instruction of the young to set them an example of submission to authority, and I could not consent to be the cause of animadversion upon the college. Should you, however, take a different view, and think that my services in the position tendered to me by the board will be advantageous to the college and country, I will yield to your judgment and accept it; otherwise, I must most respectfully decline the office. Begging you to express to the trustees of the college my heartfelt gratitude for the honour conferred upon me, and requesting you to accept my cordial thanks for the kind manner in which you have communicated their decision, I am, gentlemen with great respect, your most obedient servant,

R. E. LEE.

        From Recollections and Letters of General Lee, by his son. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.



LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA, February 23, 1866.

        MY DEAR MRS. DAVIS: Your letter of the 12th inst. reached Lexington during my absence at Washington. I have never seen Mr. Colfax's speech, and am, therefore, ignorant of the statements it contained. Had it, however, come under my notice, I doubt whether

Page 340

I should have thought it proper to reply. I have thought, from the time of the cessation of hostilities, that silence and patience on the part of the South was the true course; and I think so still. Controversy of all kinds will, in my opinion, only serve to continue excitement and passion, and will prevent the public mind from the acknowledgement and acceptance of the truth. These considerations have kept me from replying to accusations made against myself, and induced me to recommend the same to others. As regards the treatment of the Andersonville prisoners, to which you allude, I know nothing and can say nothing of my own knowledge. I never had anything to do with any prisoners, except to send those taken on the fields, where I was engaged, to the Provost Marshal General at Richmond. I have felt most keenly the sufferings and imprisonment of your husband, and have earnestly consulted with friends as to any possible mode of affording him relief and consolation. He enjoys the sympathy and respect of all good men; and if, as you state, his trial is now near, the exhibition of the whole truth in his case will, I trust, prove his defense and justification. With sincere prayers for his health and speedy restoration to liberty, and earnest supplications to God that He may take you and yours under His guidance and protection, I am, with great respect,

Your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE.

        From Recollections of General Lee, by his son. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.

Page 341



LEXINGTON, VIRGINIA, December 21, 1866.

        MY PRECIOUS LIFE: I was very glad to receive your letter of the 15th inst., and to learn that you were well and happy. May you be always as much so as is consistent with your welfare here and hereafter, is my daily prayer. I was much pleased, too, that, while enjoying the kindness of your friends, we were not forgotten. Experience will teach you that, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, you will never receive such a love as is felt for you by your father and mother. That lives through absence, difficulties, and time. Your own feelings will teach you how it should be returned and appreciated. I want to see you very much, and miss you at every turn, yet am glad of this opportunity for you to be with those, who, I know, will do all in their power to give you pleasure. I hope you will also find time to read and improve your mind. Read history, works of truth, not novels and romances. Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret. Your friends here inquire constantly after you, and wish for your return. Mrs. White and Mrs. McElwee particularly regret your absence, and the former sends special thanks for your letter of remembrance. We get on in our usual way. Agnes takes good care of us, and is very thoughtful and attentive. She has not

Page 342

great velocity, but is systematic and quiet. After to-day, the mornings will begin to lengthen a little, and her trials to lessen. It is very cold, the ground is covered with six inches of snow, and the mountains, as far as the eye can reach in every direction, elevate their white crests as monuments of winter. This is the night for the supper for the repairs to the Episcopal church. Your mother and sisters are busy with their contributions. It is to take place at the hotel, and your brother, cousins, and father are to attend. On Monday-night (24th), the supper for the Presbyterian church is to be held at their lecture-room. They are to have music and every attraction. I hope both may be productive of good. But you know the Episcopalians are few in numbers and light in purse, and must be resigned to small returns. . . . I must leave to your sisters a description of these feasts and also an account of the operation of the Reading Club. As far as I can judge, it is a great institution for the discussion of apples and chestnuts, but is quite innocent of the pleasures of literature. It, however, brings the young people together, and promotes sociability and conversation. Our feline companions are flourishing. Young Baxter is growing in gracefulness and favour, and gives cat-like evidence of future worth. He possesses the fashionable colour of "moonlight on the water," apparently a dingy hue of the kitchen, and is strictly aristocratic in appearance and conduct. Tom, surnamed "The Nipper," from the manner in which he slaughters our enemies, the rats and mice, is admired for his gravity and sobriety, as well as for his strict attention to the pursuits of his race. They both feel your absence sorely. Traveller and Custis are both well, and pursue their usual dignified gait and habits, and are not led away by the

Page 343

frivolous entertainments of lectures and concerts. All send united love, and all wish for your return. Remember me most kindly to Cousins Eleanor and George, John, Mary, Ida, and all at "Myrtle Grove," and to other kind friends when you meet them. Mrs. Grady carried yesterday to Mr. Charles Kerr, in Baltimore, a small package for you. Be careful of your health, and do not eat more than half the plum-puddings Cousin Eleanor has prepared for Xmas. I am glad to hear that you are fattening, and I hope you will reach 125 lbs. Think always of your father, who loves you dearly.

R. E. LEE.

        P. S. 22d.--Rob arrived last night with "Lucy Long." He thinks it too bad you are away. He has not seen you for two years.

R. E. LEE.

        From Recollections and Letters of General Lee, by his son. By permission of Doubleday, Page and Company.



RICHMOND, April 4, 1863.

        MY DEAR: I hope you appreciate the fact that you are herewith honored with a letter written in royal-red ink upon sumptuous gilt-edged paper. There is not, at the present writing, one inch of paper for sale in the capital of the Confederacy, at all within the humble means of the wife of a Confederate officer. Well is it for her--and I hope for you--that her youthful admirers were few, and so her gorgeous cream-and-gold

Page 344

album was only half filled with tender effusions. Out come the blank leaves, to be divided between her friend and her Colonel. Dont be alarmed at the color of the writing. I have not yet dipped my goose-quill (there are no steel pens) in the "ruddy drops that visit my sad heart," nor yet into good orthodox red ink. There are fine oaks in the country, and that noble tree bears a gall-nut filled with crimson sap. One lies on my table, and into its sanguinary heart I plunge my pen.

        Something very sad has just happened in Richmond--something that makes me ashamed of all my jeremiads over the loss of petty comforts and conveniences of life--hats, bonnets, gowns, stationery, books, magazines, dainty food. Since the weather has been so pleasant, I have been in the habit of walking in the Capitol Square before breakfast every morning. Somehow nothing so sets me up after a restless night as a glimpse of the dandelions waking up from their dewy bed and the songs of the birds in the Park. Yesterday, upon arriving, I found within the gates a crowd of women and boys--several hundreds of them, standing quietly together. I sat on a bench near, and one of the number left the rest and took the seat beside me. She was a pale, emaciated girl, not more than eighteen, with a sun-bonnet on her head, and dressed in a clean calico gown. "I could stand no longer," she explained. As I made room for her I observed that she had delicate features and large eyes. Her hair and dress were neat. As she raised her hand to remove her sunbonnet and use it for a fan, her loose calico sleeve slipped up, and revealed the mere skeleton of an arm. She perceived my expression as I looked at it, and hastily pulled down her sleeve with a short laugh. "This is all that's left of me," she said. "It seems real

Page 345

funny, dont it?" Evidently she had been a pretty girl--a dressmaker's apprentice, I judged from her chafed forefinger and a certain skill in the lines of her gown. I was encouraged to ask: "What is it? Is there some celebration?"

        "There is," said the girl solemnly; "we celebrate our right to live. We are starving. As soon as enough of us get together we are going to the bakeries and each of us will take a loaf of bread. That is little enough for the government to give us after it has taken all our men."

        Just then a fat old black Mammy waddled up the walk to overtake a beautiful child who was running before her. "Come dis a way, honey," she called, "dont go nigh dem people," adding in a lower tone, "I's feared you'll ketch somethin fum dem po-white folks. I wonder dey lets 'em into de Park."

        The girl turned to me with a wan smile, and as she rose to join the long line that had now formed and was moving, she said simply, "Good-bye! I'm going to get something to eat."

        "And I devoutly hope you'll get it--and plenty of it," I told her. The crowd now rapidly increased, and numbered, I am sure, more than a thousand women and children. It grew and grew until it reached the dignity of a mob--a bread riot. They impressed all the light carts they met, and marched along silently and in order. They marched through Cary Street and Main, visiting the stores of the speculators and emptying them of their contents. Governor Letcher sent the mayor to read the Riot Act, and as this had no effect he threatened to fire on the crowd. The city battalion then came up. The women fell back with frightened eyes, but did not obey the order to disperse. The

Page 346

President then appeared, ascended a dray, and addressed them. It is said he was received at first with hisses from the boys, but after he had spoken some little time with great kindness and sympathy, the women quietly moved on, taking their food with them. General Elzey and General Winder wished to call troops from the camps "to suppress the women," but Mr. Seddon, wise man, declined to issue the order. While I write women and children are still standing in the streets, demanding food, and the government is issuing to them rations of rice.

        This is a frightful state of things. I am telling you of it because not one word has been said in the newspapers about it. All will be changed, Judge Campbell tells me, if we can win a battle or two (But, oh, at what a price!), and regain the control of our railroads. Your General has been magnificent. He has fed Lee's army all winter--I wish he could feed our starving women and children.



        From Reminiscences of Peace and War. By permission of The Macmillan Company.



RICHMOND, April 5, 1865.

        MY DEAR: I am not at all sure you will ever receive this letter, but I shall risk it. First, I join you in humble thanks to God for the great mercy accorded to both of us. Your General lives. My Colonel lives. What words can express our gratitude? What is the

Page 347

loss of home and goods compared with the loss of our own flesh and blood? Alas! alas! for those who have lost all.

        I am sure you will have heard the grewsome story of Richmond's evacuation. I was at St. Paul's Sunday, April 1, when a note was handed to President Davis. He rose instantly, and walked down the aisle--his face set, so we could read nothing. Dr. Minnegrode gave notice that General Ewell desired the forces to assemble at 3 P. M., and also that there would be no further service that day. I had seen no one speak to the Doctor, and I wonder at the acuteness of his perception of the state of affairs. As soon as I reached the hotel I wrote a note to the proprietor, asking for news. He answered that grave tidings had come from Petersburg, and for himself he was by no means sure we could hold Richmond. He requested me to keep quiet and not encourage a tendency to excitement or panic. At first I thought I would read my services in the quiet of my little sky parlor at the Spotswood, but I was literally in a fever of anxiety. I descended to the parlor. Nobody was there except two or three children with their nurses. Later in the afternoon I walked out and met Mr. James Lyons. He said there was no use in further evading the truth. The lines were broken at Petersburg and that town and Richmond would be surrendered late at night--he was going out himself with the mayor and Judge Meredith with a flag of truce and surrender the city. Trains were already fired to carry the archives and bank officials. The President and his Cabinet would probably leave at the same time.

        "And you, Judge?"

        "I shall stand my ground. I have a sick family, and we must take our chances together."

Page 348

        "Then seriously--really and truly--Richmond is to be given up, after all, to the enemy."

        "Nothing less! And we are going to have a rough time, I imagine."

        I could not be satisfied until I had seen Judge Campbell, upon whom we so much relied for good calm sense. I found him with his hands full of papers, which he waved deprecatingly as I entered.

        "Just a minute, Judge! I am alone at the Spotswood and--"

        "Stay there, my dear lady! You will be perfectly safe. I advise all families to remain in their own houses. Keep quiet. I am glad to know the Colonel is safe. He may be with you soon now."

        With this advice I returned and mightily reassured and comforted the proprietor of the Spotswood. He immediately caused notice to be issued to his guests. I resolved to convey my news to the families I knew best. The Pegrams were in such deep affliction there was no room there for anxious fears about such small matters as the evacuation of cities, but I could see my dear Mrs. Paul, and Mrs. Maben, and say a comforting word at the Allan home--closed to all the world since poor John fell at Gettysburg. Mrs. Davis was gone and out of harm's way. The Lees were sacred from intrusion. Four members of that household--the General, "Rooney," Custis and Robert--were all at the post of danger. Late in the afternoon three hundred or more prisoners were marched down the street; the negroes began to stand about, quietly observant but courteous, making no demonstration whatever. The day, you remember, was one of those glorious days we have in April, and millions on millions of stars watched at night, looking down on the watchers below. I expected to sit

Page 349

by my window all night as you always do in a troubled time, but sleep overtook me. I had slept, but not undressed, when a loud explosion shook the house,--then another. There were crashing sounds of falling glass from the concussion. I found the sun had risen. All was commotion in the streets, and agitation in the hotel. The city government had dragged hogsheads of liquor from the shops, knocked in the heads, and poured the spirits in the gutters. They ran with brandy, whisky, and rum, and men, women, and boys rushed out with buckets, pails, pitchers, and in the lower streets, hats and boots, to be filled. Before eight o'clock many public buildings were in flames, and a great conflagration was evidently imminent. The flames swept up Main Street, where the stores were quickly burned, and then roared down the side streets almost to Franklin.

        The doors of the government bakeries were thrown open and food was given to all who asked it. Women and children walked in and helped themselves. At ten o'clock the enemy arrived,--ten thousand negro troops, going on and on, cheered by the negroes on the streets.

        So the morning passed--a morning of horror, of terror! Drunken men shouted and reeled through the streets, a black cloud from the burning city hung like a pall over us, a black sea of faces filled the streets below, shells burst continuously in the ashes of the burning armory. About four in the afternoon a salute of thirty-four guns was fired. A company of mounted dragoons advanced up the street, escorting an open carriage drawn by four horses in which sat Mr. Lincoln and a naval officer, followed by an escort of cavalry. They drove straight to Mr. Davis' house, cheered all the way by negroes, and returned the way they came. I had a

Page 350

good look at Mr. Lincoln. He seemed tired and old--and I must say, with due respect to the President of the United States, I thought him the ugliest man I had ever seen. He was fairly elected the first time, I acknowledge--but was he the last? A good many of the "free and equal" were not allowed a vote then.

        The next day I persuaded one of the lads in the hotel to take a walk with me early in the morning, and I passed General Lee's house. A Yankee guard was pacing to and fro before it--at which I felt an impulse of indignation,--but presently the door opened, the guard took his seat on the steps and proceeded to investigate the contents of a very neatly furnished tray, which Mrs. Lee in the kindness of her heart, had sent out to him.

        I am obliged to acknowledge that there is really no hope now of our ultimate success. Everybody says so. My heart is too full for words. General Johnson says we may comfort ourselves by that fact that war may decide a policy but never a principle. I imagine our principle is all that remains to us of hope or comfort.



        From Reminiscences of Peace and War. By permission of The Macmillan Company.

Page 351



        I HAVE given your last letter the fullest and most careful consideration. After doing so I feel sure that Macon is not the place for me. If you could taste the delicious crystalline air, and the champagne breeze that I've just been rushing about in, I am equally sure that in point of climate you would agree with me that my chance for life is ten times as great here as in Macon. Then, as to business, why should I, nay, how can I, settle myself down to be a third-rate struggling lawyer for the balance of my little life, as long as there is a certainty almost absolute that I can do some other thing so much better? Several persons, from whose judgment in such matters there can be no appeal, have told me, for instance, that I am the greatest flute-player in the world; and several others, of equally authoritative judgment, have given me an almost equal encouragement to work with my pen. (Of course I protest against the necessity which makes me write such things about myself. I only do so because I so appreciate the love and tenderness which prompt you to desire me with you that I will make the fullest explanation possible of my course, out of reciprocal honor and respect for the motives which lead you to think differently from me.) My dear father, think how, for twenty years, through poverty, through pain, through weariness, through sickness,

        1 Written to announce his determination to devote himself to poetry and music.

        From the Introduction to Poems of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 352

through the uncongenial atmosphere of a farcical college and of a bare army and then of an exacting business life, through all the discouragement of being wholly unacquainted with literary people and literary ways,--I say, think how, in spite of all these depressing circumstances, and of a thousand more which I could enumerate, these two figures of music and of poetry have steadily kept in my heart so that I could not banish them. Does it not seem to you as to me, that I begin to have the right to enroll myself among the devotees of these two sublime arts, after having followed them so long and so humbly, and thro so much bitterness?



        AH, how they have belied Wagner! I heard Theodore Thomas's orchestra play his overture to "Tannhäuser." The "Music of the Future" is surely thy music and my music. Each harmony was a chorus of pure aspirations. The sequences flowed along, one after another, as if all the great and noble deeds of time had formed a procession and marched in review before one's ears instead of one's eyes. These "great and noble deeds" were not deeds of war and statesmanship, but majestic victories of inner struggles of a man. This unbroken march of beautiful-bodied Triumphs irresistibly invites the soul of a man to create other processions like it. I would I might lead a so magnificent file of glories into heaven!

        From Letters of Sidney Lanier. Published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

Page 353

        And again, in 1871:

        And to-night I come out of what might have been heaven. . . .

        'Twas opening night of Theodore Thomas's orchestra, at Central Park Garden, and I could not resist the temptation to go and bathe in the sweet amber seas of the music of this fine orchestra, and so I went, and tugged me through a vast crowd, and, after standing some while, found a seat, and the bâton tapped and waved, and I plunged into the sea, and lay and floated. Ah! the dear flutes and oboes and horns drifted me hither and thither, and the great violins and small violins swayed me upon waves, and overflowed me with strong lavations, and sprinkled glistening foam in my face, and in among the clarinetti, as among waving water-lilies with flexile stems, I pushed my easy way, and so, even lying in the music-waters, I floated and flowed, my soul utterly bent and prostrate.

Page 355



Page 357



        THE responsibility of this great measure passes from the hands of the committee, and from my hands. They know, and I know, that it is an awful and tremendous responsibility. I hope that you will meet it with a just conception and a true appreciation of its magnitude, and the magnitude of the consequences that may ensue from your decision one way or the other. The alternatives,

        1 In 1820 Missouri asked to be admitted into the Union as a slave State. This precipitated a long fight on the slavery question between the Northern and Southern congressmen, the majority of those from the North arguing against the admission of Missouri unless slavery be forbidden in that State. The Southern congressmen, on the other hand, held that Missouri should be admitted and then allowed to settle this question within its own legislature. A compromise bill was introduced which provided that Missouri should keep its slaves, but that slavery should not be allowed anywhere else west of the Mississippi River and north of latitude 36°and 30′,--the southern boundary of Missouri. Clay strongly advocated this bill, and did everything in his power to reconcile the two factions. For this reason he was called the "Great Pacificator."

        In 1850, when California demanded admission to the Union, those who favored slavery said the admission of California would nullify the Missouri Compromise, as part of California runs south of the southern boundary of Missouri. Those opposed to slavery were equally anxious that a free State be admitted and this again precipitated strife. Clay made one more attempt to keep peace and introduced what is called the "Omnibus Bill," which has some provisions aimed to please both sides. It is upon this bill that he delivered this speech in the United States Senate, July 22, 1850.

Page 358

I fear, which the measure presents, are concord and increased discord; a servile civil war, originating in its causes on the lower Rio Grande, and terminating possibly in its consequences on the upper Rio Grande in the Santa Fé country, or the restoration of harmony and fraternal kindness. I believe from the bottom of my soul, that the measure is the reunion of this Union. I believe it is the dove of peace, which, taking its aërial flight from the dome of the Capitol, carries the glad tidings of assured peace and restored harmony to all the remotest extremities of this distracted land. I believe that it will be attended with all these beneficent effects. And now let us discard all resentments, all passions, all petty jealousies, all personal desires, all love of place, all hankerings after the gilded crumbs which fall from the table of power. Let us forget popular fears, from whatever quarter they may spring. Let us go to the limpid fountain of unadulterated patriotism, and, performing a solemn lustration, return divested of all selfish, sinister, and sordid impurities, and think alone of our God, our country, our consciences, and our glorious Union--that Union without which we shall be torn into hostile fragments, and sooner or later become the victims of military despotism, or foreign domination.

        Mr. President, what is an individual man? An atom, almost invisible without a magnifying-glass--a mere speck upon the surface of the immense universe; not a second in time, compared to immeasurable, never-beginning, and never-ending eternity; a drop of water in the great deep, which evaporates and is borne off by the winds; a grain of sand, which is soon gathered to the dust from which it sprung. Shall a being so small, so petty, so fleeting, so evanescent, oppose itself to the

Page 359

onward march of a great nation, which is to subsist for ages and ages to come; oppose itself to that long line of posterity which, issuing from our loins, will endure during the existence of the world? Forbid it, God. Let us look to our country and our cause, elevate ourselves to the dignity of pure and disinterested patriots, and save our country from all impending dangers. What if, in the march of this nation to greatness and power, we should be buried beneath the wheels that propel it onward? What are we--what is any man--worth who is not ready and willing to sacrifice himself for the benefit of his country when it is necessary? . . .

        Sir, we have had hard words, bitter words, bitter thoughts, unpleasant feelings toward each other in the progress of this great measure. Let us forget them. Let us sacrifice these feelings. Let us go to the altar of our country and swear, as the oath was taken of old, that we will stand by her; that we will support her; that we will uphold her Constitution; that we will preserve her Union; and that we will pass this great, comprehensive and healing system of measures, which will hush all the jarring elements, and bring peace and tranquillity to our homes.

Page 360


        HAVING now shown what cannot save the Union, I return to the question with which I commenced, How can the Union be saved? There is but one way by which it can with any certainty; and that is, by a full and final settlement, on the principle of justice, of all the questions at issue between the two sections. The South asks for justice, simple justice, and less she ought not to take. She has no compromise to offer but the Constitution; and no concession or surrender to make. She has already surrendered so much that she has little left to surrender. Such a settlement would go to the root of the evil, and remove all cause of discontent; by satisfying the South she could remain honorably and safely in the Union, and thereby restore the harmony and fraternal feelings between the sections, which existed anterior to the Missouri agitation. Nothing else can, with any certainty, finally and forever settle the questions at issue, terminate agitation, and save the Union.

        But can this be done? Yes, easily; not by the weaker party, for it can of itself do nothing--not even protect itself--but by the stronger. The North has only to will it to accomplish it--to do justice by conceding to the South an equal right in the acquired territory, and to do her duty by causing the stipulations relative to fugitive

        1 "This speech on the slavery question in the debates on the Compromise of 1850 was read from proof-sheets by Senator James M. Mason, of Virginia, Calhoun being too feeble to deliver it. The next day he made a few remarks in answer to Senator Foote, but not a set speech."--Trent's Southern Writers.

Page 361

slaves to be faithfully fulfilled--to cease the agitation of the slave question, and to provide for the insertion of a provision in the Constitution, by an amendment, which will restore to the South, in substance, the power she possessed of protecting herself, before the equilibrium between the sections was destroyed by the action of this Government. There will be no difficulty in devising such a provision--one that will protect the South, and which, at the same time, will improve and strengthen the Government, instead of impairing and weakening it.

        But will the North agree to this? It is for her to answer the question. But, I will say, she cannot refuse, if she has half the love of the Union which she professes to have, or without justly exposing herself to the charge that her love of power and aggrandizement is far greater than her love of the Union. At all events, the responsibility of saving the Union rests on the North, and not on the South. The South cannot save it by any act of hers, and the North may save it without any sacrifice whatever, unless to do justice, and to perform her duty under the Constitution, should be regarded by her as a sacrifice.

        It is time, Senators, that there should be an open and manly avowal on all sides as to what is intended to be done. If the question is not now settled, it is uncertain whether it ever can hereafter be; and we, as the representatives of the States of this Union, regarded as governments, should come to a distinct understanding as to our respective views, in order to ascertain whether the great questions at issue can be settled or not. If you, who represent the stronger portion, cannot agree to settle them on the broad principle of justice and duty, say so; and let the States we both represent agree to separate and part in peace. If you are unwilling we should

Page 362

part in peace, tell us so, and we shall know what to do, when you reduce the question to submission or resistance. If you remain silent, you will compel us to infer by your acts what you intend. In that case California will become the test question. If you admit her, under all the difficulties that oppose her admission, you compel us to infer that you intend to exclude us from the whole of the acquired territories, with the intention of destroying, irretrievably, the equilibrium between the two sections. We would be blind not to perceive in that case that your real objects are power and aggrandizement, and infatuated not to act accordingly.

        I have now, Senators, done my duty in expressing my opinions fully, freely, and candidly, on this solemn occasion. In doing so, I have been governed by the motives which have governed me in all the stages of the agitation of the slavery question since its commencement. I have exerted myself, during the whole period, to arrest it, with the intention of saving the Union, if it could be done; and if it could not, to save the section where it has pleased Providence to cast my lot, and which I sincerely believe has justice and the Constitution on its side. Having faithfully done my duty to the best of my ability, both to the Union and my section, throughout this agitation, I shall have the consolation, let what will come, that I am free from all responsibility.

Page 363


        Mr. Speaker: In rising to second the resolutions just offered, I desire to add a few remarks which have occurred to me as appropriate to the occasion. I believe that they express a sentiment which pervades the hearts of all the people whose representatives are here assembled. Strange as, in looking back upon the past, the assertion may seem, impossible as it would have been ten years ago to make it, it is not the less true that to-day Mississippi regrets the death of Charles Sumner, and sincerely unites in paying honors to his memory. Not because of the splendor of his intellect, though in him was extinguished one of the brightest of the lights which have illumined the councils of the government for nearly a quarter of a century; not because of the high culture, the elegant scholarship, and the varied learning which revealed themselves so clearly in all his public efforts as to justify the application to him of Johnson's felicitous expression, "He touched nothing which he did not adorn";2 not this, though these are qualities by no means, it is to be feared, so common in public places as to make their disappearance, in even a single instance, a matter of indifference; but because of those peculiar and strongly marked moral traits of his character which gave the coloring to the whole tenor of his singularly dramatic public career; traits which made

        1 The speech was delivered in the House of Representatives April 28, 1874, in seconding the resolution for a suspension of the consideration of public business offered by the Honorable E. R. Hoar, of Massachusetts.

        2 From Dr. Johnson's epitaph for Oliver Goldsmith.

        From Mayes's L. Q. C. Lamar, etc., 1896. By permission of Mr. Edward Mayes.

Page 364

him for a long period to a large portion of his countrymen the object of as deep and passionate a hostility as to another he was one of enthusiastic admiration, and which are not the less the cause that now unites all these parties, ever so widely differing, in a common sorrow today over his lifeless remains.

        It is of these high moral qualities which I wish to speak; for these have been the traits which in after years, as I have considered the successive acts and utterances of this remarkable man, fastened most strongly my attention, and impressed themselves most forcibly upon my imagination, my sensibilities, my heart. I leave to others to speak of his intellectual superiority, of those rare gifts with which nature had so lavishly endowed him, and of the power to use them which he had acquired by education I say nothing of his vast and varied stores of historical knowledge, or of the wide extent of his reading in the elegant literature of ancient and modern times, or of his wonderful power of retaining what he had read, or of his readiness in drawing upon these fertile resources to illustrate his own arguments. I say nothing of his eloquence as an orator, of his skill as a logician, or of his powers of fascination in the unrestrained freedom of the social circle, which last it was my misfortune not to have experienced. These, indeed, were the qualities which gave him eminence not only in our country, but throughout the world; and which have made the name of Charles Sumner an integral part of our nation's glory. They were the qualities which gave to those moral traits of which I have spoken the power to impress themselves upon the history of the age and of civilization itself; and without which those traits, however intensely developed, would have exerted no influence

Page 365

beyond the personal circle immediately surrounding their possessor. More eloquent tongues than mine will do them justice. Let me speak of the characteristics which brought the illustrious Senator who has just passed away into direct and bitter antagonism for years with my own State and her sister States of the South.

        Charles Sumner was born with an instinctive love of freedom, and was educated from his earliest infancy to the belief that freedom is the natural and indefeasible right of every intelligent being having the outward form of man. In him, in fact, this creed seems to have been something more than a doctrine imbibed from teachers or a result of education. To him it was a grand intuitive truth, inscribed in blazing letters upon the tablet of his inner consciousness, to deny which would have been for him to deny that he himself existed. And along with this all-controlling love of freedom he possessed a moral sensibility keenly intense and vivid, a conscientiousness which would never permit him to swerve by the breadth of a hair from what he pictured to himself as the path of duty. Thus were combined in him the characteristics which have in all ages given to religion her martyrs, and to patriotism her self-sacrificing heroes.

        To a man thoroughly permeated and imbued with such a creed, and animated and constantly actuated by such a spirit of devotion, to behold a human being or a race of human beings restrained of their natural right to liberty, for no crime by him or them committed, was to feel all the belligerent instincts of his nature roused to combat. The fact was to him a wrong which no logic could justify. It mattered not how humble in the scale of rational existence the subject of this restraint

Page 366

might be, how dark his skin, or how dense his ignorance. Behind all that lay for him the great principle that liberty is the birthright of all humanity, and that every individual of every race who has a soul to save is entitled to the freedom which may enable him to work out his salvation. It mattered not that the slave might be contented with his lot; that his actual condition might be immeasurably more desirable than that from which it had transplanted him; that it gave him physical comfort, mental and moral elevation, and religious culture not possessed by his race in any other condition; that his bonds had not been placed upon his hands by the living generation; that the mixed social system of which he formed an element had been regarded by the fathers of the republic, and by the ablest statesmen who had risen up after them, as too complicated to be broken up without danger to society itself, or even to civilization; or, finally, that the actual state of things had been recognized and explicitly sanctioned by the very organic law of the republic. Weighty as these considerations might be, formidable as were the difficulties in the way of the practical enforcement of his great principle, he held none the less that it must sooner or later be enforced, though institutions and constitutions should have to give way alike before it. But here let me do this great man the justice which, amid the excitement of the struggle between the sections--now past--I may have been disposed to deny him. In this fiery zeal, and this earnest warfare against the wrong, as he viewed it, there entered no enduring personal animosity toward the men whose lot it was to be born to the system which he denounced.

        It has been the kindness of the sympathy which in these later years he has displayed toward the impoverished

Page 367

and suffering people of the Southern States that has unveiled to me the generous and tender heart which beat beneath the bosom of the zealot, and has forced me to yield him the tribute of my respect--I might even say of my admiration. Nor in the manifestation of this has there been anything which a proud and sensitive people, smarting under the sense of recent discomfiture and present suffering, might not frankly accept, or which would give them just cause to suspect its sincerity. For though he raised his voice, as soon as he believed the momentous issues of this great military conflict were decided, in behalf of amnesty to the vanquished; and though he stood forward, ready to welcome back as brothers, and to re-establish in their rights as citizens, those whose valor had nearly riven asunder the Union he loved; yet he always insisted that the most ample protection and the largest safeguards should be thrown around the liberties of the newly enfranchised African race. Though he knew very well that of his conquered fellow-citizens of the South by far the larger portion, even those who most heartily acquiesced in and desired the abolition of slavery, seriously questioned the expediency of investing in a single day, and without any preliminary tutelage, so vast a body of inexperienced and uninstructed men with the full rights of freemen and voters, he would tolerate no half-way measures upon a point to him so vital.

        Indeed, immediately after the war, while other minds were occupying themselves with different theories of reconstruction, he did not hesitate to impress most emphatically upon the administration, not only in public, but in the confidence of private intercourse, his uncompromising resolution to oppose to the last any and every scheme which should fail to provide the surest

Page 368

guarantees for the personal freedom and political rights of the race which he had undertaken to protect. Whether his measures to secure this result showed him to be a practical statesman or a theoretical enthusiast, is a question on which any decision we may pronounce to-day must await the inevitable revision of posterity. The spirit of magnanimity, therefore, which breathes in his utterances and manifests itself in all his acts affecting the South during the last two years of his life, was as evidently honest as it was grateful to the feelings of those towards whom it was displayed.

        It was certainly a gracious act toward the South--though unhappily it jarred upon the sensibilities of the people at the other extreme of the Union, and estranged from him the great body of his political friends--to propose to erase from the banners of the national army the mementos of the bloody internecine struggle, which might be regarded as assailing the pride or wounding the sensibilities of the Southern people.1 That proposal will never be forgotten by that people so long as the name of Charles Sumner lives in the memory of man. But, while it touched the heart of the South, and elicited her profound gratitude, her people would not have asked of the North such an act of self-renunciation.

        Conscious that they themselves were animated by devotion to constitutional liberty, and that the brightest pages of history are replete with evidences of the depth and sincerity of that devotion, they cannot but cherish the recollections of sacrifices endured, the battles fought, and the victories won in defence of their hapless cause. And respecting, as all true and brave men must

        1 Sumner introduced a bill for this purpose in December, 1872.

Page 369

respect, the martial spirit with which the men of the North vindicated the integrity of the Union, and their devotion to the principles of human freedom, they do not ask, they do not wish the North to strike the mementos of her heroism and victory from either records or monuments or battle flags. They would rather that both sections should gather up the glories won by each section: not envious, but proud of each other, and regard them a common heritage of American valor.

        Let us hope that future generations, when they remember the deeds of heroism and devotion done on both sides, will speak not of Northern prowess and Southern courage, but of the heroism, fortitude, and courage of Americans in a war of ideas; a war in which each section signalized its consecration to the principles, as each understood them, of American liberty and of the Constitution received from their fathers.

        It was my misfortune, perhaps my fault, personally never to have known this eminent philanthropist and statesman. The impulse was often strong upon me to go to him and offer him my hand, and my heart with it, and to express to him my thanks for his kind and considerate course toward the people with whom I am identified. If I did not yield to that impulse, it was because the thought occurred that other days were coming in which such a demonstration might be more opportune, and less liable to misconstruction. Suddenly, and without premonition, a day has come at last to which, for such a purpose, there is no to-morrow. My regret is therefore intensified by the thought that I failed to speak to him out of the fulness of my heart while there was yet time.

        How often is it that death thus brings unavailingly back to our remembrance opportunities unimproved: in

Page 370

which generous overtures, prompted by the heart, remain unoffered; frank avowals which rose to the lips remain unspoken; and the injustice and wrong of bitter resentments remain unrepaired! Charles Sumner, in life, believed that all occasion for strife and distrust between the North and South had passed away, and that there no longer remained any cause for continual estrangement between these two sections of our common country. Are there not many of us who believe the same thing? Is not that the common sentiment--or if it is not, ought it not to be--of the great mass of our people, North and South? Bound to each other by a common Constitution, destined to live together under a common government, forming unitedly but a single member of the great family of nations, shall we not now at last endeavor to grow toward each other once more in heart, as we are already indissolubly linked to each other in fortunes? Shall we not, over the honored remains of this great champion of human liberty, this feeling sympathizer with human sorrow, this earnest pleader for the exercise of human tenderness and charity, lay aside the concealments which serve only to perpetuate misunderstandings and distrust, and frankly confess that on both sides we most earnestly desire to be one; one not merely in community of language and literature and traditions and country; but more, and better than all that, one also in feeling and in heart? Am I mistaken in this?

        Do the concealments of which I speak still cover animosities which neither time nor reflection nor the march of events have yet sufficed to subdue? I cannot believe it. Since I have been here I have watched with anxious scrutiny your sentiments as expressed not merely in public debate, but in the abandon of personal confidence.

Page 371

I know well the sentiments of these, my Southern brothers, whose hearts are so enfolded that the feeling of each is the feeling of all; and I see on both sides only the seeming of a constraint, which each apparently hesitates to dismiss. The South--prostrate, exhausted, drained of her life-blood as well as of her material resources, yet still honorable and true--accepts the bitter award of the bloody arbitrament without reservation, resolutely determined to abide the result with chivalrous fidelity; yet, as if struck dumb by the magnitude of her reverses, she suffers on in silence. The North, exultant in her triumph, and elated by success, still cherishes, as we are assured, a heart full of magnanimous emotions toward her disarmed and discomfited antagonist; and yet, as if mastered by some mysterious spell, silencing her better impulses, her words and acts are the words and acts of suspicion and distrust.

        Would that the spirit of the illustrious dead whom we lament to-day could speak from the grave to both parties to this deplorable discord in tones which should reach each and every heart throughout this broad territory: "My countrymen! Know one another, and you will love one another."1

        1 "Lamar's biographer, ex-Chancellor Mayes, tells us that most of the persons gathered to hear the speeches upon Sumner expected little more than a conventional tribute of respect from the Representative from Mississippi. The House was thronged, but a hush came over the audience as the orator warmed to his great task. Speaker Blaine turned his face away to hide his tears. Republican and Democratic members throughout the hall were seen weeping. When Mr. Lamar finished, there came a storm of applause, and the name of the orator within a day was famous throughout the country. Whatever opinion may now be held as to the justice of his eulogium of Sumner, too much praise can scarcely be given the spirit in which it was delivered."--Trent's Southern Writers.

Page 372



        FROM Cæsar to Bismarck and Gladstone the world has had its statesmen and its soldiers--men who rose to eminence and power step by step, through a series of geometric progression, as it were, each advancement following in regular order one after the other, the whole obedient to well-established and well-understood laws of cause and effect. They were not what we call "men of destiny." They were "men of the time." They were men whose careers had a beginning, a middle, and an end, rounding off lives with histories, full it may be of interesting and exciting events, but comprehensive and comprehensible, simple, clear, complete.

        The inspired ones are fewer. Whence their emanation, where and how they got their power, by what rule they lived, moved and had their being, we know not. There is no explication of their lives. They rose from shadow and they went in mist. We see them, we feel them, but we know them not. They came, God's word upon their lips; they did their office, God's mantle about them; and they vanished, God's holy light between the world and them, leaving behind a memory, half mortal and half myth. From first to last they were the creations of some special Providence, baffling the wit of man to fathom, defeating the machinations of the world, the flesh and the devil until their work was done,

        1 Delivered before the Lincoln Union at Chicago, February 12, 1895.

        By permission of Mr. Watterson.

Page 373

then passing from the scene as mysteriously as they had come upon it.

        Tried by this standard, where shall we find an example so impressive as Abraham Lincoln, whose career might be chanted by a Greek chorus as at once the prelude and the epilogue of the most imperial theme of modern times?

        Born as lowly as the Son of God, in a hovel; reared in penury, squalor, with no gleam of light or fair surrounding; without graces, actual or acquired; without name or fame or official training: it was reserved for this strange being, late in life, to be snatched from obscurity, raised to supreme command at a supreme moment, and intrusted with the destiny of a nation.

        The great leaders of his party, the most experienced and accomplished public men of the day, were made to stand aside, were sent to the rear, whilst this fantastic figure was led by unseen hands to the front and given the reins of power. It is immaterial whether we were for him or against him; wholly immaterial. That during four years, carrying with them such a weight of responsibility as the world never witnessed before, he filled the vast space allotted him in the eyes and actions of mankind, is to say that he was inspired of God, for nowhere else could he have acquired the wisdom and the virtue.

        Where did Shakespeare get his genius? Where did Mozart get his music? Whose hand smote the lyre of the Scottish ploughman,1 and stayed the life of the German priest?2 God, God, and God alone; and as sure as these were raised up by God, inspired by God, was Abraham Lincoln; and a thousand years hence, no

        1 Robert Burns.

        2 Martin Luther, leader of the German Reformation.

Page 374

drama, no tragedy, no epic poem, will be filled with greater wonder, or be followed by mankind with a deeper feeling, than that which tells the story of his life and death.

        I look into the crystal globe1 that, slowly turning, tells the story of his life, and I see a little heart-broken boy, weeping by the outstretched form of a dead mother, then bravely, nobly trudging a hundred miles to obtain her Christian burial; I see this motherless lad growing to manhood amid scenes that seem to lead to nothing but abasement; no teachers; no books, no chart, except his own untutored mind; no compass, except his own undisciplined will; no light, save from Heaven; yet, like the caravel of Columbus, struggling on and on through the trough of the sea, always toward the destined land. I see the full-grown man, stalwart and brave, an athlete in activity of movement and strength of limb, yet vexed by weird dreams and visions--of life, of love, of religion, sometimes verging on despair. I see the mind, grown as robust as the body, throw off the phantasms of the imagination and give itself wholly to the workaday uses of the world--the rearing of children, the earning of bread, the multiplied duties of life. I see the party leader, self-confident in conscious rectitude; original, because he was fearless, pursuing his convictions with earnest zeal, and urging them upon his fellows with the resources of an oratory which was hardly more impressive than it was many-sided. I see him, the preferred among his fellows, ascend the eminence reserved for him; and him alone of all the statesmen of the time, and the derision of opponents and the distrust of supporters, yet unawed and unmoved because

        1 Crystal globes are used by professional fortune-tellers and mediums in forecasting the future.

Page 375

thoroughly equipped to meet the emergency. The same being, from first to last; the poor child weeping over a dead mother; the great chief sobbing amid the cruel horrors of war; flinching not from duty, nor changing his life-long ways of dealing with the stern realities which pressed upon him and hurried him onward. And, last scene of all, that ends the strange, eventful history, I see him lying dead there in the Capitol of the nation to which he had rendered "the last, full measure of his devotion," the flag of his country around him, the world in mourning.



        "THERE was a South of slavery and secession--that South is dead. There is a South of union and freedom--that South, thank God, is living, breathing, growing every hour." These words, delivered from the immortal lips of Benjamin H. Hill, at Tammany Hall, in 1866, true then and truer now, I shall make my text to-night.

        Mr. President and Gentlemen: Let me express to you my appreciation of the kindness by which I am

        1 On the 21st of December, 1886, Mr. Grady, in response to an urgent invitation, delivered the following address at the banquet of the New England Club, New York. Mr. Grady accepted the invitation with great hesitancy, but after he rose to his feet spoke as if truly inspired to deliver a message. There are many who think this speech did more than any other one thing to bring the two sections together again.

Page 376

permitted to address you. I make this abrupt acknowledgment advisedly, for I feel that if, when I raise my provincial voice in this ancient and august presence, it could find courage for no more than the opening sentence, it would be well if in that sentence I had met in a rough sense my obligation as a guest, and had perished, so to speak, with courtesy on my lips and grace in my heart.

        Permitted, through your kindness, to catch my second wind, let me say that I appreciate the significance of being the first Southerner to speak at this board, which bears the substance, if it surpasses the semblance, of original New England hospitality--and honors the sentiment that in turn honors you, but in which my personality is lost, and the compliment to my people made plain.

        I bespeak the utmost stretch of your courtesy to-night. I am not troubled about those from whom I come. You remember the man whose wife sent him to a neighbor with a pitcher of milk, and who, tripping on the top step, fell with such casual interruptions as the landings afforded into the basement, and, while picking himself up, had the pleasure of hearing his wife call out: "John, did you break the pitcher?"

        "No, I didn't," said John, "but I'll be dinged if I don't."

        So, while those who call me from behind may inspire me with energy, if not with courage, I ask an indulgent hearing from you. I beg that you will bring your full faith in American fairness and frankness to judgment upon what I shall say. There was an old preacher once who told some boys of the Bible lesson he was going to read in the morning. The boys, finding the place, glued together the connecting pages.

Page 377

The next morning he read on the bottom of one page, "When Noah was one hundred and twenty years old he took unto himself a wife, who was"--then turning the page--"140 cubits long--40 cubits wide, built of gopherwood--and covered with pitch inside and out." He was naturally puzzled at this. He read it again, verified it, and then said: "My friends, this is the first time I ever met this in the Bible, but I accept this as an evidence of the assertion that we are fearfully and wonderfully made." If I could get you to hold such faith to-night I could proceed cheerfully to the task I otherwise approach with a sense of consecration.

        Pardon me one word, Mr. President, spoken for the sole purpose of getting into the volumes that go out annually freighted with the rich eloquence of your speakers--the fact that the Cavalier as well as the Puritan was on the continent in its early days, and that he was "up and able to be about." I have read your books carefully and I find no mention of the fact, which seems to me an important one for preserving a sort of historical equilibrium, if for nothing else.

        Let me remind you that the Virginia Cavalier first challenged France on the continent--that a Cavalier, John Smith, gave New England its very name, and was so pleased with the job that he has been handing his own name around ever since--and that while Miles Standish1 was cutting off men's ears for courting a girl without her parents' consent, and forbade men to kiss their wives on Sunday, the Cavalier was courting everything in sight, and that the Almighty had vouchsafed great increase to the Cavalier colonies, the huts in the wilderness being as full as the nests in the woods.

        But having incorporated the Cavalier as a fact in

        1 Captain Miles Standish (see Longfellow's poem).

Page 378

your charming little books, I shall let him work out his own salvation, as he has always done, with engaging gallantry, and we will hold no controversy as to his merits. Why should we? Neither Puritan nor Cavalier long survived as such. The virtues and good traditions of both happily still live for the inspiration of their sons and the saving of the old fashion. But both Puritan and Cavalier were lost in the storm of the first Revolution, and the American citizen, supplanting both and stronger than either, took possession of the republic bought by their common blood and fashioned to wisdom, and charged himself with teaching men government and establishing the voice of the people as the voice of God.

        My friends, Dr. Talmage1 has told you that the typical American has yet to come. Let me tell you that he has already come. Great types, like valuable plants, are slow to flower and fruit. But from the union of these colonists, Puritans and Cavaliers, from the straightening of their purposes and the crossing of their blood, slow perfecting through a century, came he who stands as the first typical American, the first who comprehended within himself all the strength and gentleness, all the majesty and grace of this republic--Abraham Lincoln. He was the sum of Puritan and Cavalier, for in his ardent nature were fused the virtues of both, and in the depths of his great soul the faults of both were lost. He was greater than Puritan, greater than Cavalier, in that he was American, and that in his honest form were first gathered the vast and thrilling forces of his ideal government--charging it with such tremendous meaning and elevating it so above human suffering that martyrdom, though infamously

        2 Thomas De Witt Talmage, D.D. (1832-1902), of New Jersey, a popular pulpit orator and lecturer.

Page 379

aimed, came as a fitting crown to a life consecrated from the cradle to human liberty. Let us, each cherishing the traditions and honoring his fathers, build with reverent hands to the type of this simple but sublime life, in which all types are honored, and in our common glory as Americans there will be plenty and to spare for your forefathers and for mine.

        Dr. Talmage has drawn for you, with a master's hand, the picture of your returning armies. He has told you how, in the pomp and circumstance of war, they came back to you, marching with proud and victorious tread, reading their glory in a nation's eyes! Will you bear with me while I tell you of another army that sought its home at the close of the late war--an army that marched home in defeat and not in victory--in pathos, and not in splendor, but in glory that equalled yours, and to hearts as loving as ever welcomed heroes home!

        Let me picture to you the footsore Confederate soldier as, buttoning up in his faded gray jacket the parole which was to bear testimony to his children of his fidelity and faith, he turned his face southward from Appomattox in April, 1865. Think of him as, ragged, half starved, heavy-hearted, enfeebled by want and wounds, having fought to exhaustion, he surrenders his gun, wrings the hands of his comrades in silence, and lifting his tear-stained and pallid face for the last time to the graves that dot old Virginia hills, pulls his gray cap over his brow and begins the slow and painful journey.

        What does he find--let me ask you who went to your homes eager to find, in the welcome you had justly earned, full payment for four years' sacrifice--what does he find when, having followed the battle-stained

Page 380

cross against overwhelming odds, dreading death not half so much as surrender, he reaches the home he left so prosperous and beautiful? He finds his house in ruins, his farm devastated, his slaves free, his stock killed, his barns empty, his trade destroyed, his money worthless; his social system, feudal in its magnificence, swept away; his people without law or legal status; his comrades slain, and the burdens of others heavy on his shoulders. Crushed by defeat, his very traditions are gone. Without money, credit, employment, material, or training; and beside all this, confronted with the gravest problem that ever met human intelligence--the establishment of a status for the vast body of his liberated slaves.

        What does he do--this hero in gray with a heart of gold? Does he sit down in sullenness and despair? Not for a day. Surely God, who had stripped him of his prosperity, inspired him in his adversity. As ruin was never before so overwhelming, never was restoration swifter.

        The soldier stepped from the trenches into the furrow; horses that had charged Federal guns marched before the plough, and fields that ran red with human blood in April were green with the harvest in June; women reared in luxury cut up their dresses and made breeches for their husbands, and, with a patience and heroism that fit women always as a garment, gave their hands to work. There was little bitterness in all this. Cheerfulness and frankness prevailed. "Bill1 Arp" struck the key-note when he said: "Well, I killed as many of them as they did of me, and now I'm going to

        1 "Bill Arp" (Bill, a Rebel Private): The pen-name of Major Charles H. Smith (1826-1903), of Georgia, a popular Southern humorist.

Page 381

work." So did the soldier returning home after defeat and roasting some corn on the roadside who made the remark to his comrades: "You may leave the South if you want to, but I'm going to Sandersville, kiss my wife and raise a crop, and if the Yankees fool with me any more, I'll whip 'em again."

        I want to say to General Sherman, who is considered an able man in our parts, though some people think he is a kind of careless man about fire, that from the ashes he left us in 1864 we have raised a brave and beautiful city; that somehow or other we have caught the sunshine in the bricks and mortar of our homes, and have builded therein not one ignoble prejudice or memory.

        But what is the sum of our work? We have found out that in the summing up the free negro counts more than he did as a slave. We have planted the school-house on the hilltop and made it free to white and black. We have sowed towns and cities in the place of theories, and put business above politics. We have challenged your spinners in Massachusetts and your ironmakers in Pennsylvania. We have learned that the $400,000,000 annually received from our cotton crop will make us rich when the supplies that make it are home-raised. We have reduced the commercial rate of interest from twenty-four to six per cent, and are floating four per cent. bonds. We have learned that one Northern immigrant is worth fifty foreigners and have smoothed the path to Southward, wiped out the place where Mason and Dixon's line1 used to be, and hung out the latchstring to you and yours.

        1 Mason and Dixon's line: In 1767 two surveyors named Mason and Dixon fixed the boundary line between Pennsylvania and Maryland. This line became famous as the boundary between the free States of the North and what were the slave-holding States of the South.

Page 382

        We have reached the point that marks perfect harmony in every household, when the husband confesses that the pies which his wife cooks are as good as those his mother used to bake; and we admit that the sun shines as brightly and the moon as softly as it did before the war. We have established thrift in city and country. We have fallen in love with work. We have restored comfort to homes from which culture and elegance never departed. We have let economy take root and spread among us as rank as the crab-grass which sprung from Sherman's cavalry camps, until we are ready to lay odds on the Georgia Yankee as he manufactures relics of the battlefield in a one-story shanty and squeezes pure olive-oil out of his cotton-seed, against any down-easter that ever swapped wooden nutmegs for flannel sausage in the valleys of Vermont. Above all, we know that we have achieved in these "piping times of peace" a fuller independence for the South than that which our fathers sought to win in the forum by their eloquence or compel in the field by their swords.

        It is a rare privilege, sir, to have had part, however humble, in this work. Never was nobler duty confided to human hands than the uplifting and up-building of the prostrate and bleeding South--misguided, perhaps, but beautiful in her suffering, and honest brave, and generous always. In the record of her social industrial, and political institutions we await with confidence the verdict of the world.

        But what of the negro? Have we solved the problem he presents, or progressed in honor and equity toward solution? Let the record speak to the point. No section shows a more prosperous laboring population than the negroes of the South, none in fuller sympathy with

Page 383

the employing and land-owning class. He shares our school fund, has the fullest protection of our laws and the friendship of our people. Self-interest, as well as honor, demand that he should have this. Our future, our very existence depend upon our working out this problem in full and exact justice. We understand that when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, your victory was assured, for he then committed you to the cause of human liberty, against which the arms of man cannot prevail--while those of our statesmen who trusted to make slavery the corner-stone of the Confederacy doomed us to defeat as far as they could, committing us to a cause that reason could not defend or the sword maintain in sight of advancing civilization.

        Had Mr. Toombs1 said, which he did not say, "that he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill," he would have been foolish, for he might have known that whenever slavery became entangled in war it must perish, and that the chattel in human flesh ended forever in New England when your fathers--not to be blamed for parting with what didn't pay--sold their slaves to our fathers--not to be praised for knowing a paying thing when they saw it. The relations of the Southern people with the negro are close and cordial. We remember with what fidelity for four years he guarded our defenceless women and children, whose husbands and fathers were fighting against his freedom. To his eternal credit be it said that whenever he struck a blow for his own liberty he fought in open battle, and when at last he raised his black and humble hands that the shackles might be struck off, those hands were innocent of wrong against his helpless charges, and worthy

        1 Robert Toombs (1810-85), of Georgia: An able politician, leader of the secession party in his native State.

Page 384

to be taken in loving grasp by every man who honors loyalty and devotion. Ruffians have maltreated him, rascals have misled him, philanthropists established a bank for him, but the South, with the North, protests against injustice to this simple and sincere people.

        To liberty and enfranchisement is as far as law can carry the negro. The rest must be left to conscience and common sense. It must be left to those among whom his lot is cast, with whom he is indissolubly connected, and whose prosperity depends upon their possessing his intelligent sympathy and confidence. Faith has been kept with him, in spite of calumnious assertions to the contrary by those who assume to speak for us or by frank opponents. Faith will be kept with him in the future, if the South holds her reason and integrity.

        But have we kept faith with you? In the fullest sense, yes. When Lee surrendered--I don't say when Johnston surrendered, because I understand he still alludes to the time when he met General Sherman last as the time when he determined to abandon any further prosecution of the struggle--when Lee surrendered, I say, and Johnston quit, the South became and has since been, loyal to this Union. We fought hard enough to know that we were whipped, and in perfect frankness accept as final the arbitrament of the sword to which we had appealed. The South found her jewel in the toad's head of defeat. The shackles that had held her in narrow limitations fell forever when the shackles of the negro slave were broken. Under the old régime the negroes were slaves to the South; the South was a slave to the system. The old plantation, with its simple police regulations and feudal habit, was the only type possible under slavery. Thus was gathered in

Page 385

the hands of a splendid and chivalric oligarchy the substance that should have been diffused among the people, as the rich blood under certain artificial conditions is gathered at the heart, filling that with affluent rapture, but leaving the body chill and colorless.

        The old South rested everything on slavery and agriculture, unconscious that these could neither give nor maintain healthy growth. The new South presents a perfect democracy, the oligarchs leading in the popular movement--a social system compact and closely knitted, less splendid on the surface, but stronger at the core--a hundred farms for every plantation, fifty homes for every palace--and a diversified industry that meets the complex needs of this complex age.

        The new South is enamoured of her new work. Her soul is stirred with the breath of a new life. The light of a grander day is falling fair on her face. She is thrilling with the consciousness of growing power and prosperity. As she stands upright, full-statured and equal among the people of the earth, breathing the keen air and looking out upon the expanded horizon, she understands that her emancipation came because through the inscrutable wisdom of God her honest purpose was crossed, and her brave armies were beaten.

        This is said in no spirit of time-serving or apology. The South has nothing for which to apologize. She believes that the late struggle between the States was war and not rebellion; revolution and not conspiracy, and that her convictions were as honest as yours. I should be unjust to the dauntless spirit of the South and to my own convictions if I did not make this plain in this presence. The South has nothing to take back.

        In my native town of Athens is a monument that crowns its central hill--a plain, white shaft. Deep cut

Page 386

into its shining side is a name dear to me above the names of men--that of a brave and simple man who died in brave and simple faith. Not for all the glories of New England, from Plymouth Rock all the way, would I exchange the heritage he left me in his soldier's death. To the foot of that I shall send my children's children to reverence him who ennobled their name with his heroic blood. But, sir, speaking from the shadow of that memory which I honor as I do nothing else on earth, I say that the cause in which he suffered and for which he gave his life was adjudged by higher and fuller wisdom than his or mine, and I am glad that the omniscient God held the balance of battle in his Almighty hand and that human slavery was swept forever from American soil--that the American Union was saved from the wreck of war.

        This message, Mr. President, comes to you from consecrated ground. Every foot of soil about the city in which I live is sacred as a battle-ground of the republic. Every hill that invests it is hallowed to you by the blood of your brothers who died for your victory, and doubly hallowed to us by the blood of those who died hopeless, but undaunted, in defeat--sacred soil to all of us--rich with memories that make us purer and stronger and better--silent but stanch witnesses in its red desolation of the matchless valor of American hearts and the deathless glory of American arms--speaking an eloquent witness in its white peace and prosperity to the indissoluble union of American States and the imperishable brotherhood of the American people.

        Now, what answer has New England to this message? Will she permit the prejudice of war to remain in the hearts of the conquerors, when it has died in

Page 387

the hearts of the conquered? Will she transmit this prejudice to the next generation, that in their hearts which never felt the generous ardor of conflict it may perpetuate itself? Will she withhold, save in strained courtesy, the hand which straight from his soldier's heart Grant offered to Lee at Appomattox? Will she make the vision of a restored and happy people, which gathered above the couch of your dying captain, filling his heart with grace, touching his lips with praise, and glorifying his path to the grave--will she make this vision, on which the last sigh of his expiring soul breathed a benediction, a cheat and delusion?

        If she does, the South, never abject in asking for comradeship, must accept with dignity its refusal; but if she does not refuse to accept in frankness and sincerity this message of good-will and friendship, then will the prophecy of Webster, delivered in this very society forty years ago amid tremendous applause, become true, be verified in its fullest sense, when he said: "Standing hand to hand and clasping hands, we should remain united as we have been for sixty years, citizens of the same country, members of the same government, united, all united now and united forever." There have been difficulties, contentions, and controversies, but I tell you that, in my judgment,

                       "Those opened eyes,
                       Which like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
                       All of one nature, of one substance bred,
                       Did lately meet in th' intestine shock,
                       Shall now, in mutual well beseeming ranks,
                       March all one way."

Page 388



        WHEN sectionalism is held in mind as a passion, or as a rooted distrust of those who do not live where we do, the word is a sinister word, and expresses an idea against which all the forces of the world are at work; but when it is thought of as a historic force, preordered by distinct, natural conditions, it becomes a fruitful idea, the true meaning of which we have not properly considered.

        The story of America, in a large way, is the story of imperial sections, reaching up after self-consciousness, and social and industrial unity, and then reacting upon each other, sometimes blindly, sometimes helpfully, to achieve a national unity and a national spirit.

        When one speaks of New England, or the South, or the West, there is instant understanding of what is meant by this true sectionalism, which this New England Society in the city of New York emphasizes and idealizes (for no other conception than this could have tied together this Society in brotherhood and affection for one hundred and one years).

        I bring this evening the greetings and good-will of the Old Dominion and her daughter States, the oldest, the most unselfish, and the most engaging and distinguished of American sections, to New England and the lands of her making--the next of age, the most powerful, the

        1 Before the New England Society in the city of New York, December 22, 1906.

Page 389

most fruitful, and the most pervasive in ideas and institutions. The Old Dominion is on the eve of celebrating her three hundredth birthday, under circumstances of great dignity and beauty, and she has it in her heart to understand better and to come closer to all parts of the great Republic, with whose making she had so much to do. I shall be pardoned for believing that in the light that will beat upon her during the progress of her great festival the whole nation will gain a renewed sense of her authority, her spiritual value, and her right to the title of "Mother of States."

        There have been times when it was difficult for the people of Massachusetts and the people of Virginia to think justly or to speak kindly of each other, but there was a time when they could, and, in the providence of God, that time has rolled around again. For three generations the people of the South and the people of New England stood to each other and to the world as natural antagonists, clenched in an endless struggle of warring ideals, born of different racial impulses, religious beliefs, and economic tendencies.

        You have all heard of the little Southern boy who thought that "damyankee" was one word until he was fourteen years old. Perhaps some of you are even better acquainted with the little New England boy whose mental image of the Southerner was the image of a swaggering blade, whose language was easy profanity, and whose morning meal consisted of a simple Kentucky breakfast, three cocktails and a chaw of tobacco.

        Let us admit, then, that these two sections, almost from the landing of the Susan Constant and the May-flower, have followed different paths of development, and have, in a measure, tested the value of different institutions. In so doing, let us admit further that they

Page 390

have greatly misunderstood each other. They have frequently nagged each other and called each other names, and, at last, came to the point where they shed each other's blood. But in all their generations of dissension I see a certain quality of curiosity and interest, of sympathy and regret, akin to that which shows in a divided family, or which shines for us so strikingly in that gentlest and most singular of all historic reconciliations, when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, after a lifetime of misunderstanding, had power given to their dying eyes to behold each other, face to face, in lineaments of essential grandeur and dignity.

        Certainly, there are no two peoples in the world who quietly enjoy so much each other's commendation, or wince so smartly under each other's disapproval. When a New Englander has the greatness of soul to perceive the royal beauty of the character of Robert E. Lee, or when a man like Lamar beholds and utters sublime words of understanding of the soul of a man like Sumner, it is a fine thing to note the glow of good feeling that pervades the two regions. It is a pity that utterance is not given to a little more of this silent appreciation. For instance, the South knew and honored the pure gold in the character of George F. Hoar, as New England understands the "moral elegance," to use Mr. Wister's phrase, and Spartan integrity of men like Senator Morgan and John W. Daniel. All this means that these regions respect each other, and respect is everywhere the foundation of esteem and finally of understanding. Upon this basis of respect, let us look briefly, but somewhat more carefully, at the root of the matter.

        A goodly library has been written in an effort to account

Page 391

for the antagonisms of New England and the South on the basis of difference between the Puritan and the Cavalier, as those names have been used to define two types of Englishmen. The matter will never be settled on this basis. It is true that English Puritans practically founded and settled the character of New England. It would be a dull and a senseless mind that did not realize the majestic significance of the coming of the Puritan to this continent, who did not understand in what a revolutionary fire was wrought the temper of his soul in the old home land; who did not feel gratitude for the sheer strength of moral imagination, the exact idealism, the genius of intelligent thrift and passionate instinct for order, which he poured into the making of this Republic.

        I can understand the enthusiasm of a son of New England for the gentle Pilgrims, sailing westward upon that epic ship, the Mayflower, or for those stern Englishmen who later came to this shore, professing an iron faith, seeking the will of God, bearing with them the town meeting, the public school, an exaltation of humanity, an appreciation of the potential value of the common man, and a superabundant determination and capacity to look after their own business, which sometimes overflowed into the domain of the business of others. Institutions, ideals, and ideas were in their right hand, and in their left, wilfulness and foresight and common sense, as inflexible and as durable as granite.

        Some eighteen millions of this indomitable breed inhabit the American continent to-day, after three hundred years of experience and achievement. They have come pretty close to enforcing their point of view of things political, social, and economic, upon the rest of this nation. They have lost much of homogeneity in their

Page 392

struggle with foreign elements, but they have reproduced a thousand New Englands on the rolling plains of the North-west and the far West. They have outgrown their religious notions so often that I do not just know where they are "at" now religiously. Perhaps that point is best expressed by Mr. Barrett Wendell in his declaration that in their religious growth they have oscillated from a consideration of "what the Devil is" to a consideration of "what the Devil anything is!"

        Englishmen of the same age of revolutionary feeling, and of the same passion for principle, settled and gave character to Tidewater, Virginia. Men call these Englishmen "Cavaliers." They had their religion, though it was primarily adventure and conquest, rather than religion, that haled them over the sea. Following afar off, they even took a hand at persecuting a Quaker or two now and then. They were just as ready as the Puritans to fight for an ideal. As the tide flowed westward, many of them, too, left home for conscience' sake. They knew the same sensation of devotion to a cause, and they had a conception of political liberty just as clear and, perhaps, an even greater genius for political debate and philosophical exposition. I can understand the enthusiasm of a Virginian for these large-statured men of their Tidewater lands, out of whom came our supreme national hero, and a Homeric group of resourceful men, without whose influence it would be difficult to see how this Republic could have ever been born. It is endlessly pleasant to a Southerner to hark back to their manly simplicity, their activity, their disinterested public spirit, their continental grasp, and their wholesome, catholic lovableness.

        Long generations afterward, Robert E. Lee flowered out of the same bud, very like the old stock, only

Page 393

gentler and more able, through virtue and suffering, to evoke the love of millions. Two such men as Washington and Lee in one century is a mighty tribute to the character of the Tidewater stock.

        But to understand the composite traits in Southern character, one must forget the Cavalier for a moment, and look into the valleys and hills of Virginia and the Carolinas, into which poured a half-million Scotch-Irishmen in the last years of the eighteenth century. These Scotch-Irishmen were neither Englishmen nor Irish, but just plain Scotch, and here and there, their French prototypes, Huguenots, all of whom were Calvinists, with the Calvinist's fearful intimacy with God, and sureness of opinion and passion for his sort of truth. The Scotch-Irishman in Virginia and the Puritan in Massachusetts were blood kin in spirit and in their moral point of view. The character of each was formed by his religion. The theory of life of each demanded education. Each held to his form of truth and stood ready, and even counted it a glory, for an opportunity to fight for its prevalence, with a fierce intensity of conviction.

        Who that has scrutinized the lives and careers of John C. Calhoun and John Quincy Adams and Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams does not recognize their essential oneness in spirit and in character? If Oliver Cromwell could have chosen his ideal soldier in the Civil War, who doubts that his choice would have fallen upon Stonewall Jackson? The Scotch-Irishmen, under Jefferson, made the Valley of Virginia the fountain of American democracy, as New England had made her stony soil the nursery of free institutions and the nurse of the most alert mass of political intelligence the country ever knew.

Page 394

        Washington, Jefferson, Marshall, Madison and, Henry were the products of plantation and country government. Samuel Adams, John Hancock, John Adams, James Otis, and Joseph Warren were the products of town meetings and of the congregation and free labor. In men, in imperialistic measures, and in great theories of government Virginia excelled. In efficient institutions and diffused intelligence New England excelled.

        In the grip of great economic forces these two groups of Englishmen thought deeply and differently about the meaning of liberty. Liberty continued to mean, as it had once meant in both sections, his home and his native State to the man of the South. It came to mean the right of any individual human being and the nation at large to the New Englander. To the Southerner the presence of the African on this soil grew to be more and more an economic fact, a problem of how to handle an alien system of labor. The intellectualism of the New Englander swept his section, in the middle of the nineteenth century, with a storm of enthusiasm for humanity, modifying his religion, his institutions, and his sense of responsibility for others to such an extent that the African, whom he had once held in slavery, became a great moral problem, appealing to his emotions and to his heart. Thus fate driven, these sections came to war, the New Englander fighting for the liberty of the individual wherever seated and the majesty of the idea of union; the Southerner for the liberty of local self-government and the right of Englishmen to determine their affairs, which was the original essence of the American idea of liberty. No war in human history was a sincerer conflict than the American Civil War. It was not a war of conquest or

Page 395

glory. To call it rebellion is to speak ignorantly. To call it treason is to add viciousness to stupidity. It was a war of ideals, of principles, of political conceptions, of loyalty to ancient ideals of English freedom held dearer than life by both sides. Neither abolitionist nor fire-eater brought on this war. It was a "brothers' war," which ought to have been avoided, but which was brought on, as our human nature is constituted, by the operation of economic forces and the clashing of inherited feelings, woven by no will of either side into the life of the Republic. It was settled at last by neither abolitionist nor fire-eater, but by men of the West who had not inherited unbroken political traditions, but simply saw the union of American States as the ark of their salvation, and beheld its flag, as Webster beheld it, "full high advanced, floating over land and sea."

        Some great facts were forever settled by the war, but few great principles. A new American ideal of nationality was set up; the curse of slavery was removed, the indestructibility of the Union established, and a great debate in political philosophy was ended with a blow. The value to liberty of the idea of local self-government still remains, as before, the deepest and most vital principle in our national life. The doctrine of States' rights as a necessity of popular government is again engaging the thought of this Republic, because mightier forces than war are vitalizing this old issue under new forms, and those who understand it best and love it dearest and who will fight for it longest are those who live in the States where devotion to it once had power to separate them from a country they had fought to found. There is nothing stranger or more interesting in political history than the recurrence of this best-loved

Page 396

dogma of the South, unconnected with secession and unconfused with slavery, as necessary to Federal union and human freedom. If, as Mr. Root thinks--and I have the feeling that his speech is to be thought of as a prophecy and a warning rather than as a plea for centralization--the struggle is on between the growing power of the Federal Government and the decreasing authority of the States, you can count on the Southerner to be on the side of maintaining the just balance, for no American sees more clearly than he just what is the vital spot in the liberty of a State. He is a learner, albeit a rapid learner, in the art of using the machinery of local self-government to enrich and beautify a State, but he is a past master in the matter of insight into the very core of democratic freedom.

        Rid of its economic misconceptions, and proven fine steel by the ordeal of fire, the South has spent forty-five years in courageous industrial and political adjustment to the modern world, clinging the while to its old ideal of local liberty. This adjustment is about made. The grandeur of united nationality is fixed in the mind of the Southerner. He can enter into the mood of Marshall's decisions and Webster's peroration more perfectly to-day than at any time since the death of Jefferson. Civilization has become to him an economical as well as a sentimental fact. He can turn wood and spin cotton. He has just spun 25,000 more bales than the mills of New England. He, too, understands the value of the common man and the moulding power of popular education. The diffusion of political intelligence has substituted for him the leadership of communities for the leadership of men. The ingrained ethical and economic contrasts that set the two sections apart, between 1800 and 1860, made for the greatness

Page 397

and the advantage of New England. This was her Golden Age, rendered glorious forever by the fame of great poets and philosophers. Between 1870 and 1906 these same forces have worked on the side of the South. Her Golden Age is yet to be. Excess of success, and replacement of its labor population, have tended to change the ideals of New England democracy, to destroy its homogeneity, to deaden and pervert somewhat its idealism. I say this in the belief that it is still true that when men look for just statutes touching human affairs, as they grow in complexity they go to the statute books of the New England States, and there is no group of men on earth who respond more quickly to good causes with their hearts and their brains and their purses than the men of Boston and the region of which it is the model. The sincerity of Southern life during that period, however, its colossal burdens, its poverty-bred simplicity, its unyielding conservatism, its conception of government as something to serve and love and not something to use and profit by, its patience and resolution and vast achievement in real things, have increased its moral distinction and its sectional self-respect, have reinfused into its old idealism for steadfastness and pride of locality a splendid quality of nationalism. Is it strange that all this should turn to it the eyes of a country that feels it to be the last repository of ancient freedom and ancient faiths? And, in addition, it no longer spends all its strength in enduring and combating, but is learning to grow naturally, as New England has done, from the failure of the embargo to the passage of the Dingley Bill, inclusive.

                                                                                . . . . . . . .

        It is not always clear to students of American history that up to 1820 the seat of active nationalism and imperialism

Page 398

was in the South. Unable through the influences of slavery to engage in sincere debate with herself, and exposed to the hostile and oftentimes ignorant criticism of the world, this attitude of buoyant growth soon changed to one of defence and introspection. The great nationalizing movement, which has occupied the mind of the world sine 1840, possessed them both, but vast economic forces forced one view of nationality upon the South with war and destruction in its train, and another on New England with prosperity and material success in its train. The world warfare for trade found New England equipped as an athlete for the fray, and the South bound in shackles. The result of the Civil War, by producing a social and economic unification in the life of the South, has caused that life to assume a closer likeness to the social and economic life of New England. The centre of gravity has passed from the country to the city, in both sections. The men who formerly dominated the plantations are building the cities and coming to Wall Street. The land of the country is being subdivided, and through better educational facilities the era of diffused intelligence is rapidly coming. The one has grown rich, the other is growing rich.

        I am told that the South is getting rich at the rate of three million dollars a day, and sometimes I wonder, if that be true, why some of our college presidents do not stumble into more than we do. We should not complain of the generosity of our States. They are doing beautifully, but sometimes they remind me of the story of an old colored man whose employer said, "Joe, how are you getting on?" He replied, "I am having a lot of trouble with my family. My wife pesters me a lot by asking me for money. I come home at night

Page 399

tired to death, nothing but work, work, work, all the time, and she says nothing but 'money, money, money. Give me a dollar, give me seventy-five cents, give me fifty cents.' " His employer said, "Joe, what on earth does she do with all that money?" And Joe replied, "I don't know, I ain't give her none yet."

        In the fourth great moral crisis of the nation New England and the South are surely nearer together than at any time since the days of the fathers. The point of the modern struggle has shifted from liberty considered as inalienable community rights, or as nationality permitting the realization of a great destiny, to democracy itself, seeking to order its affairs so that opportunity may be equal and justice prevail in a world made over in power and purpose in twenty-five years.

        Our present democracy, so long concerned with interpretation of constitutions, now strikes at the very nature of the social order. No democracy has ever been tempted like this one. No democracy has ever been able to organize its forces like this one. No such field of exploitation has ever opened before any democracy, and never before has the current of the world's genius contributed to perfecting machinery for such vast exploitation. No democracy ever dreamed how it would act if fabulous wealth, ever increasing through the agency of co-operation, had gone to its head. This is not a corrupt nation. Its currents are kindly and just and free and idealistic as of old. Its public men are honest and its merchants are honest. We are simply facing a new question in human liberty, a new phase of the ever-expanding content of democracy, how to retain in our system the priceless glory of individual excellence and individual initiative, which is our deepest national instinct, and how to control in the interests of

Page 400

justice the great co-operative forces which the plans of this giant age demand. The vastness of the issue, depending upon popular decision, gives to each election a sacred character, and to each humblest voter, working to settle this matter in the orderly fashion of our fathers, the title of a soldier and a patriot; but to each man of whatever rank, seeking to traffic and profit by it, all the infamy of a traitor and a renegade. These two eldest children of American life I love to believe still see the Republic of their fathers as a beautiful spiritual adventure. All the world's changes or noises cannot wipe out or hush their old solemn belief in its mission and its destiny and in the hopes that mankind has built about it. Who can be better fitted, then, to bring to it, in the perils that await all growing States, the best measure of their tempered strength, each according to its several abilities--New England, her wealth of orderly knowledge, her patient habits of study, her technical power, her moral perception, her ability to translate democracy into forms of efficiency; the South, conservative and proud and honest, her best spiritual contribution to American life the purity of her thought about government, the unselfish attitude of her service to the State, her pride of region, and her love of home?

Page 401



        IN the present, far more than in any preceding age ideas govern mankind. Not individuals nor societies, not kings nor emperors, not fleets nor armies, but ideas--educated intellects--using and controlling all these, as does the mechanic his tools, uproot dynasties, overturn established systems, subvert and reorganize governments, revolutionize social fabrics, and direct civilization. True, we have the most wonderful physical developments--as marvellous in character as they are rapid in multiplication. Whether we look to the engines of war or the arts of peace, to the means of destruction or the appliances for preservation, to the facilities for distribution or the sources of production and accumulation, we shall find nothing in the past comparable to the achievements of the present. But all these gigantic elements of physical power are but the fruits of educated minds--have leaped into being at the command of ideas, and they are under the absolute command of ideas; and whether they shall really promote or destroy civilizations must depend altogether upon the wise or unwise discretion of this omnipotent commander. Thought is the Hercules of this age, and his strength is equally a vigorous fact, whether it be employed in throttling the lion of power or in cleaning out the Augean stables of accumulated social errors. Moving by nations, by races, and by systems,

        1 Extract from a speech delivered before the Alumni Society of the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., July 31, 1871.

Page 402

this irresistible ruler--educated thought--is setting aside old and setting up new civilizations at will.

        It is not my purpose now to analyze the different civilizations which are competing in the great struggle to lead humanity, nor to select any one for prominent advocacy. Nor must I be understood as saying that that which changes always reforms, nor yet, that every apparent triumph is a just progress. But this much I affirm is true: that community, that people, that nation--nay, that race or that system which, Diogenes-like, will now content itself with living in its own tub, asking nothing of the conquering powers around it except that they stand out of its sunshine, will soon find itself in hopeless darkness, the object of derision for its helplessness, and of contempt for its folly. Whether civilizations, on the whole, be going forward or going backward, the result must be the same to those who insist on standing still--they must be overwhelmed. Because all the world is, therefore each portion of the world must, be awake and thinking--up and acting. Nor can we afford to waste time and strength in defence of theories and systems, however valued in their day, which have been swept down by the moving avalanche of actual events. No system which has fallen and been destroyed in the struggles of the past will ever be able to rise and grapple with the increasing power of its conqueror in the future. We can live neither in nor by the defeated past, and if we would live in the growing, conquering future, we must furnish our strength to shape its course and our will to discharge its duties. The pressing question, therefore, with every people is, not what they have been, but whether and what they shall determine to be; not what their fathers were, but whether and what their children shall be.

Page 403

        God in events--mysteriously, it may be, to us--has made the educated men in the South, of this generation, the living leaders of thought for a great and a noble people, but a people bewildered by the suddenness with which they have been brought to one of those junctures in human affairs when one civilization abruptly ends and another begins. I feel oppressed with a sense of fear that we shall not be equal to the unusual responsibilities this condition imposes, unless we can deal frankly with these events, frankly with ourselves, and bravely with our very habits of thought. Though unjustly, even cruelly slain, brave survivors lie not down with the dead, but rise up resolved all the more to be leaders and conquerors with and for the living.

                                                                                 . . . . . . . .

        No period in the history and fortunes of our State was ever half so critical as the present. And in this anxious hour--this crisis of her fate--to whom shall the State look with hope if not to her own educated sons? Who shall stay the coming of Philip, if Athenians abandon Greece? Who shall save our Rome from the clutch of the despot and the tread of the vandal, if our Antonies still madly follow the fleeing, faithless, fallen African?

        Gentlemen, we cannot escape the responsibility pressing upon us. If we prove unequal to our duties now, then a State, with every natural gift but worthy sons, appropriated by others, must be the measure of our shame in the future. But if we prove equal to those duties now, then a State surpassed by none in wealth, worth, and power, will be the glory that is waiting to reward our ambition.

        And we shall escape this shame and win this glory if we now fully comprehend and manfully act upon three

Page 404

predicate propositions: first, that the civilization peculiar to the Southern States hitherto has passed away, and forever; second, that no new civilization can be equal to the demands of the age which does not lay its foundations in the intelligence of the people and in the multiplication and social elevation of educated industries; third, that no system of education for the people, and for the multiplication of the industries, can be complete, or efficient, or available, which does not begin with an ample, well-endowed, and independent university.

        These three postulates embody the triunity of all our hope as a people. Here the work of recovery must begin--and in this way alone, and by you alone, can it be begun. The educated men of the South, of this generation, must be responsible for the future of the South. The educated men of Georgia now before me must be responsible for the future of Georgia. That future will be anything you now command. From every portion of this dear old Commonwealth there comes this day an earnest, anxious voice, saying to you, Shall we command, or shall we serve? Shall we rise, or fall yet lower? Shall we live, or shall we die?

        Gathering in my own the voices of you all, and with hearts resolved and purposes fixed, I send back the gladdening response: We shall live! We shall rise! We shall command! We have given up the dusky Helen--pity we kept the harlot so long! True, alas, Hector1 is dead, and Priam1 is dethroned; and Troy, proud Troy, has glared by the torch, and crumbled 'neath the blows,

        1 For accounts of Hector and Priam, recall the old story of the War of the Trojans with the Greeks which Vergil immortalizes in the Æneid, and the chronicles of which have been sung by many tongues in many lands.

Page 405

and wept 'mid the jeers of the revelling Greeks in every household. But more than a hundred Æneases1 live! On more than a hundred broader, deeper Tibers we will found greater cities, rear richer temples, raise loftier towers, until all the world shall respect and fear, and even the Greeks shall covet, honor, and obey!

        1 Ibid.



        I HEARTILY thank you for your invitation to come here; for I think that your school stands for as useful work as any work done in the world.

        The training of children in the public schools gives exercise to the highest qualities--sympathy, self-sacrifice, the love of every human creature and the love of our country. These are the virtues that make men and women strong and lovely.

        Your work also brings results of the highest value. The American people of this generation are a people of great practical skill; but the American people of the next generation, the Georgians among them if you do your task well, will be the most efficient people on the earth.

        Your work, too, is free from doubt. There is work that men must do without enthusiasm. There is work that brings only the unrelieved weariness of toil and a plodding gait. But the direct value of what you do is

        2 An address delivered at the Commencement of the State Normal School at Athens, Ga., December 11, 1901.

        By permission of Doubleday. Page and Company and the author.

Page 406

free from doubt in all sound minds; for you are building the noblest fabric of society, which is a world-conquering trained democracy. Whatever others may be doing, then, you are working with the central secret of human progress; and it is an inspiration to see you.

        And now, if I can repay you at all, it must be by telling you the story of the school that built a town.

        It is the town of Northwood. Its early history is like the early history of hundreds of other American towns. The people who lived there were merchants, lawyers, preachers, doctors; a rich man or two; a few men that had workshops and those that worked for them: carpenters, clerks, laborers, a few loafers, a few rumsellers--the same kind of population that you could find almost anywhere in the Union. They were people of sturdy stock and good qualities. Most of them were of American parentage; but there were Germans, Irish, Jews, and two Frenchmen--one a dancing-master, who taught fencing also, and the other a teacher of his language. And life went on there as life goes on in all such communities. The people were pretty well off. When court was in session many countrymen came to town, and all the loafers gathered about the court-house, and the lawyers gave the hotel an air of importance as if it were a big hotel in a big town. The farmers filled the market place on Saturday and the stores and the grog-shops drove a thriving trade. But the savings-bank had many depositors, the churches were well filled on Sunday, and the Sunday-schools swarmed with pretty children; for it was a town of large families.

        And there were schools, of course. One was kept by a good lady who had studied French and music in her

Page 407

youth and who held on in her widowhood to the memories of her triumphs which still threw a gentle halo over her. She taught at her home a group of the best-bred children of the town. She taught them to speak with a certain prim correctness, and at the end of every term she coached them to stand in their pretty frocks and clean breeches in a pretty row and to recite pretty verses and to make a pretty bow to their mothers. They took home good reports and their parents said that they were very fortunate to have so cultivated a lady to teach their children.

        There was another school kept by another lady. She was young and energetic and she put emphasis on modern methods of education. She had the real Frenchman to teach French. She laid great stress on calisthenics and she put on gymnasium clothes herself and led the children in their exercises. She was a young woman of great physical vigor, and naturally the children of strenuous parents came to her school and they boasted that she made it her business to teach, not to confer a social distinction on her pupils.

        Then there was a school for boys at which they were prepared for business or for college, and it was a good academy of the old sort. Two men owned and conducted it. One was an old-fashioned scholar who made the boys learn the Latin grammar by heart, and who flogged them when they failed; and he was looked upon as men afar off look upon stern Learning. If you could have taken the popular conception of the Higher Education, clothed it in flesh and put a plug hat on it, you would have had that man. If you had met him in the street for the first time, you would have known his calling and could have guessed his history; for he had won prizes at the university in his classical studies. It

Page 408

was sometimes said that he recited Horace to himself with his eyes shut while he pretended to look at the boys play baseball. His partner was a book-keeper and a business man who taught the boys that were taking the commercial course to keep accounts and to write a plain hand; and he taught the English branches also. The boys who attended this school were the sons of the best-to-do families of the town, and there were boarding pupils too.

        Then still another school was established in Northwood when the town had grown a little bigger. This was a seminary for young ladies, and it was a church-school. A preacher and his wife were the principals; and, besides the girls that lived in the town, a good many came from a distance. The church had supplied the money to build a large house for it, and the young ladies' seminary was one of the things that a part of the town was proudest of. Most of its pupils came from families that held the faith of the church that had built it. The girls of other religious faiths were sent away to finishing schools which were under the management of their own churches.

        Nor were the poor forgotten; for the people took pride also in providing a public school. The building was not large, nor the equipment worth mentioning; and two young women were engaged at very low salaries to conduct it. They were generally selected because they needed the salaries; and the teachers were changed every year or two, sometimes because they got tired, and sometimes because they got married, but oftenest because there were other young women who wanted the places, and turn about was regarded as fair play.

        No man could say, therefore, that Northwood was

Page 409

not well supplied with schools. When a stranger went to the town, the people boasted to him of their zeal in education. But the town grew bigger, and almost every year there were changes in the schools. One year the cultivated old lady's school for children was split into two, not because of anything that happened in the school, but because of a church quarrel in the social set that patronized it. Another year the dismissal of a teacher in the young ladies' seminary caused a heated discussion throughout the church, and two factions sprung up. The resignation of the principal's wife was demanded; and the principal himself had the hard fortune to be obliged to choose between his wife and his ecclesiastical superiors. All these unhappy events caused much gossip at the tea-parties of the other churches, and one of them established a modest school for girls of its own. It was this same year that the sturdy old master of the boys' school died, and so many people lacked confidence in his partner that its patronage seriously fell off. In a year or two he ceased to teach and became a life-insurance agent. A young scholar from the university then came and took up the remnants of the school and did the best he could with it. During these eight or ten years of such recurrent misfortunes there grew up perhaps half a dozen more schools for children. Almost every social set found that there was a lady in it who had some particular reason for teaching, and her friends of course sent their children to her; and thus the educational advantages of the town continued to be unusual. For, with every social division among the people and with every church difference, schools continued to multiply.

        These events in the life of the town covered a good many years. It had grown somewhat; but it had not

Page 410

grown rapidly. It was essentially the same kind of town that it had been ten years before. Yet important changes had been going on, and the most important was the change in the public school. It became so crowded with the children of the poorer class that it was necessary to build a second school-house. This was built in the end of the town where well-to-do people lived, and more and more of them took to sending their children to it.

        About that time a greater interest was taken in public-school education throughout the State. The university had been made free to every pupil in the Commonwealth who was prepared to enter it, and the public-school system was much talked about and developed.

        It so happened that the principal of one of the public schools in Northwood at that time was an uncommonly energetic man--a man who knew how to manage men. He made a very careful study of the population, and this is what he found--that, in spite of all the schools in the town, there were a great many children that were not at school at all. There were many more of them than anybody would have believed. He found also that even those that got a smattering of book-learning got nothing else, and that few received further instruction than the schools in the town gave. He made a list of all the families in Northwood, and it filled a book almost as big as a banker's ledger. He put down in it the boys and the girls whose education was prematurely arrested. One night he sat down with the summary of this book before him, and he said to himself, "These people are not in earnest about education; they are simply playing with it and are fooling themselves."

        He showed this summary first to one man, then to another. In this way first one man and then another

Page 411

was led to think about the subject in a new way. I need not tire you with the details of the agitation that followed, for it extended over many years. But the result was that a third public school was built. Then some time later a high-school was built. In a few years it was found inadequate, and the building was used as still another primary public school and a larger house was put up for the high-school. By this time the public schools had ceased to be regarded as schools for the poor. They were the best schools in the town, and almost all the people in the town sent their children to them. Long ago the old scramble about teachers had ceased. Influential citizens had stopped trying to get places for their widowed daughters-in-law and their wives' nieces in the schools because they needed work. Only well-trained teachers, as a rule, were engaged. The best men in the town served on the school-board, and they had got so tired of the scramble for places that they had a law passed by the legislature which permitted them to appoint a school director, who in turn could himself appoint teachers, and nobody else could. They held him responsible; and, since he was not elected, he had no temptation to appoint incompetent ones.

        With the feeling of security, every school principal and teacher became courageous. Especially courageous was the principal of the high-school. He put a carpenter-shop in the basement which developed into a wood-working department, and he graded the pupils on their course in wood-work just as he graded them in any book study. This pleased the people. They said that he was "practical." But he took the trouble to explain that he was not training carpenters, and he insisted that they must not misunderstand him.

Page 412

        But the plan was so popular that a well-to-do builder, whose son had taken a great interest in the wood-working course, gave the school a very much better shop. Then by some other stroke of good luck (I've forgotten the details of the story) a shop was added for work in iron--a little shop, almost a toy-shop; but the children were taught there. Then came a garden, for a quarter of an acre was set aside and the children learned to plant and to work things that grow. In the meantime a small chemical laboratory had been fitted up, and a physical laboratory as well. Then a separate building was given for use as a gymnasium. Somebody gave a small library. At a public meeting a year or two later it was decided to build a public library next the school-house.

        Workshops, a garden, laboratories, a library, a gymnasium--there were other things as well. A kitchen was built and the girls were taught to cook. Then a dozen other things came along, such as basket-making; singing was taught uncommonly well, and nearly all the young people learned to sing. And the school had an orchestra. Every boy and girl took a course of work with the hands as well as with the head; and it was discovered that the head-work was the better done for the hand-work.

        At last a generation had grown up that had been educated in the public schools of Northwood. Nearly every useful man in the town and most of the useful women were high-school graduates. They made the social life of the town. The doctor, the dentist, the preacher, the mayor, even the Governor, most of the merchants, the owner of a knitting mill, the owner of a furniture factory, the owner of a great tin shop, the owner of a wagon factory--all sorts of successful men

Page 413

had been graduated at this school and most of them had got the impulse there that shaped their careers.

        And the high-school was both the intellectual and the industrial centre of the town and of the region. The scholars went there to the library; the farmers went there to consult the chemist or the entomologist; men of almost all crafts and callings found an authority there. For this high-school had now become what we should call a college and a very well-organized one too.

        In the first period of Northwood's history, you will observe, the town carried the schools--carried them as a burden. The schools of the cultivated widow, the strenuous young lady, and the old-fashioned scholar, and the young ladies' seminary, much as the several sets and sects each boasted of its own institution, were really tolerated rather than generously supported. The principals had to beg for them in one form or other. The public school was regarded as a sort of orphan asylum for the poor. The whole educational work of the town was on a semi-mendicant basis; or it was half a sort of social function, half a sort of charity. It really did not touch the intellectual life of the people. They supported it. It did not lift them. The town carried the schools as social and charitable burdens.

        Now this is all changed. The school has made the town. It has given nearly every successful man in it his first impulse in his career, and it has given the community great renown. Teachers from all over the country go there to see it. More than that, many pupils go from a distance to enter the high-school. More than that, men have gone there to live because of the school. They go there to establish industries of various sorts, because the best expert knowledge of every craft can

Page 414

be found there. The town has prospered and has been rebuilt. The architects are high-school men; the engineers who graded the streets and made a model system of sewers are high-school men; the roads were laid out by high-school men. There is a whole county of model farms and dairies and good stock farms. High-school men have in this generation made the community a new community. They conduct all sorts of factories--they make furniture, they make things of leather, they make things of wrought iron; they have hundreds of small industries. It is said that a third of the houses in the town contain home-made furniture after beautiful old patterns that the owners themselves have made. And there is one man who does inlaid work in wood. And all this activity clusters about the public schools. The high-school now not only affects but it may be said to dominate the life of the town; and this is the school that has built the town, for it has given everybody an impetus and has started nearly everybody toward an occupation. It has enabled them to find their own aptitudes.

        Now there is all the difference in the world between the Northwood of this generation, and the Northwood of the generation before. It is a difference so great that it cannot be told in one morning. But the change is simply the result of a changed view of education.

                                                                                . . . . . . . .

        The diploma given by the school tells something more definite than most diplomas tell, and every diploma does not tell the same thing. One recites what courses of study a boy has taken and how well he has mastered them. But it tells also that he can swim well, that he can do work in iron, that he can

Page 415

draw, that he has good muscles. It tells, too, that he is persistent and plucky, and that he is unselfish and thrifty. The diploma is made to fit the boy, not the boy to fit the diploma. It tells what sort of boy he is, what he has done, and what he is good for. A diploma given to a girl likewise tells frankly the character and the equipment of that particular girl; for the people of Northwood are so much in earnest about education that they have learned to be perfectly frank. The diploma will tell that the girl is of sound body, that she can sing, that she can row, and it plainly says that she has good manners; it tells her good qualities of mind and of temper, as well as the success with which she has pursued her studies. It tells that she can lay out and work a garden of roses or of potatoes. It all the diplomas given to all the graduates were the same, they would not value them.

        The school, you understand, is not a mere workshop, nor is it a place to learn a trade. It does not make carpenters of boys nor cooks of girls. Nor does it make Greek scholars or poets or musicians of them. But it comes as near to making them the one thing as the other. It comes as near to making cooks and chemists and farmers as it comes to making scholars. For those high-schools and colleges that teach only books and train only the mind and not the hands--they do not really make scholars as we used to suppose that they did. The utmost that they do is to teach the boy the rudiments of scholarship and the method of work by which, if he persist, he may some day become a scholar. This school does the same thing in scholarship, but it does also a corresponding thing in handwork. The old kind of teachers simply fooled themselves and misled their pupils and the community when

Page 416

they assumed that their courses in literature and the like made scholars. And what a wasteful self-deception it was! In Northwood one boy may, if he persist, become a scholar; another a wheelwright; another a farmer; and so on. And it is found that by doing hand-work also the pupils do better head-work as well. It simply opens to all the intellectual life and the way to useful occupations at the same time.

        There are two things that they are all taught in that school. They are taught to write a plain hand-writing, and they look upon a bad hand-writing as they look upon neglect of dress--it is the mark of a sloven. And they are all taught to write the English language in short clear sentences, so that anybody can understand what they write.

        Now let us see how the people of Northwood themselves look at education. The simplicity of the work of the school is what first strikes you. And you find this same simplicity in the people's conception of education. They do not call it education. They call it training. They speak of a boy as trained in Greek or in metal-work; and of a girl as trained to sing or to draw or to cook. This frank and simple way of looking at school-work has changed their whole conception of education. It has brushed away a vast amount of nonsense, and cleaned the mind of a great accumulation of cobwebs. For one thing nobody in that town makes addresses on the need of education. A man would as soon think of making an address on the necessity of the atmosphere, or of fuel, or of bread. And you never hear anything about elaborate systems of education, or the co-ordination of studies, or the psychology of the unrelated.

        They look at the trades and the professions in the

Page 417

same simple way. They say that one man has been trained as a physician, that another has been trained as a farmer, that another has been trained as a preacher, that another has been trained as a builder, another as a machinist; and they lay less stress on what a man chooses to do than upon the way in which he does it. It is respectable to have any calling you like, provided you are trained to it; but it isn't respectable to have any calling unless you are trained. The town for this reason is not divided into the same sort of sets and classes that you find in most towns. There is not one class that puts on airs and regards itself as the Educated Class, to which all other classes are supposed to pay deference. Of course some men read more books than others; some are more cultivated than others, and there are social divisions of the people there as there are the world over. But when everybody knows how to do something well, a man who does one thing well enjoys no particular distinction. A jackleg lawyer can't compel any great respect from a really scientific horse-shoer. The mastery of anything is a wonderful elevator of character and judgment.

        Next to their simple and straightforward way of looking at education what strikes you most about the people of Northwood is their universal interest in the school. Apparently everybody has now been trained there. But when one man thinks of the school he thinks of the library; another of the laboratory; another of the workshop; another of music; another of chemistry. Books are only one kind of tools, and the other kinds are co-ordinate with them. And everybody goes to the great school-house more or less often. The singers give their concerts there. I was there once when a young man gave a performance of a musical

Page 418

composition of his own, and at another time when a man showed the first bicycle that had been made in the town. In three months he had a bicycle factory. Everybody is linked to the school by his work, and there is, therefore, no school party and no anti-school party in local politics. There is no social set that looks down on the school. The school built the town, and it is the town. It has grown beyond all social distinctions and religious differences and differences of personal fortune. It has united the people, and they look upon it as the training place in which everybody is interested alike, just as they look upon the court-house as the place where every man is on the same footing. The fathers of our liberties made the court-house every man's house. The equally important truth is that we must, in the same way, make the public school-house everybody's house before we can establish the right notion of education.